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The Ethics of Animal Training Procedures. Presented by Dr. Eduardo Fernandez

  • Thursday, March 23, 2023
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • GoToWebinar


  • A member of Pet Professional Guild International Chapter Registration: The registration code can be found in your member's area on the PPG website.
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The Ethics of Animal Training Procedures.

Presented by Dr. Eduardo Fernandez

Come and Join The Disucssion and Get Involved in the Q&A

Hosted by Niki Tudge


It has become commonplace to refer to the science of animal training as being synonymous with applied behavior analytic principles. Less clear, however, is how ethical considerations correlate with other applied behavior analytic endeavors. While it remains tempting to refer to reward-based training methods as “more scientific” (presumably in comparison to other training methods), it is unclear whether such assertions are relying on scientific or ethical considerations. Thus, a distinction between both ethical and scientific guidelines becomes necessary.

This session will examine the distinction between science and ethics, with a focus on how we make ethical decisions that guide our science-based animal training practices. Attention will be given to:

1. How we distinguish between science and ethics.

2. What criteria we use for making ethical considerations, such as freedoms, restrictiveness, intrusiveness, and hierarchies.

3. Why the tools we use to make ethical decisions should exist according to similar scientific criteria.

Learning Objectives:

• Foster behavior change plans that are simultaneously pro-science and pro-ethics, and thus, pro-animal well-being and welfare.

About Your Presenter

Dr. Eduardo Fernandez

Dr. Eduardo J. Fernandez received his Ph.D. in psychology (minors in neuroscience and animal behavior) from Indiana University, where he worked with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Zoo. He received his MS in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas, where he founded the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA).

Most of his past and current work involves behavioral research applied to the welfare and training of zoo, aquarium, and companion animals. He is currently a senior lecturer of applied animal behavior and welfare in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide, Australia. His past positions include a visiting professorship in the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, an affiliate professorship in the Psychology Department at the University of Washington (UW), a research fellowship with Woodland Park Zoo, and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship.

While working with UW and the Woodland Park Zoo, he started the Behavioral Enrichment Animal Research (BEAR) group, which conducted welfare research with many of the species and exhibits located throughout the zoo. He currently runs the Operant Welfare Lab (OWL), which is dedicated to the use of learning principles to improve the lives of animals across many settings, including exotic animals in zoos, companion animals in homes, and agricultural animals in farms. Many of his past publications, research projects, and presentations can be found on his ResearchGate profile.

This was previously aired at Geek Week 2021.

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