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What do you think about animal interaction programs?





natilovesmike
I love animals, of all kind, size and shape. I am a biologist and I work with animals for my research as well. I have always had mixed feelings about zoos and aquariums (including sea world like places) because on the one hand I love to go to those places to see the animals and learn about them, also to take my son and hopefully help him learn how respect all forms of life. But on the other hand i feel bad for the animals because they are prisoners or slaves, most of them anyway.

Last weekend I went to Sea world and participated in one of their Beluga interaction programs, where you get in the water with the Beluga and give it a few signals so the beluga performs something. I was doubtful about doing it, but I just couldn't resist it. And here is what I think now....

Many animals work for humans, not only in Zoos and Aquariums but also in farms, laboratories and sports as well. I think now I regard these animals as "working animals" and as long as their are treated well and with respect I think it's OK to have them work "with" humans.

What I noticed with the beluga interaction program is that they don't let you do whatever you want, or bother the beluga, they just guide you and tell you which hand signals to give the Beluga and at the same time the beluga practices these cues. I thought the whole thing was very balanced, I got to see the beluga up close and even interact with it and I noticed that the Beluga never showed signs of stress.

So, after feeling so bad/happy about all this...I turn on the TV and their are advertising this show of bull riding...and the poor bull is kicking and jumping and I am PRETTY sure that bull was no happy and was VERY stressed...

That's why I came to the conclusion that I will support any human group that uses animals for work or entertainment as long as they respect the animal and use positive methods to train and communicate with it.


What do you think?
ocalhoun
natilovesmike wrote:

That's why I came to the conclusion that I will support any human group that uses animals for work or entertainment as long as they respect the animal and use positive methods to train and communicate with it.

A very good attitude.

Though I will say that on occasions, negative training methods must be used. They should not be the primary methods, and used only rarely, but there are times when they are needed.

Horses, for example, respond best to patient and gentle handling, but if one tries to 'dominate' you by pushing you around or biting, you have to very quickly (and negatively) put a stop to it, or you'll be the one taking orders. It doesn't take much at all, just a token effort to show that you won't put up with it, but if you don't, then the horse becomes the 'boss' in the relationship, and won't take any directions from you.
Cliffer
i can just do a few daily interaction programs with my dog,but i never trained her to master any special skill.i don't know how to do it and i don't want my dog work too hard.
i like horses and dolphins as well,i hope they can listen to me some day.
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