Strengthening our bond to improve animals' lives

CAAB Chat: How Can Preference Assessments Help Us Evaluate Environmental Enrichment?

A variety of research studies have demonstrated that environmental enrichment improves animal welfare in a variety of settings, from laboratories, to farms to zoos. The most common approach to evaluating the effectiveness of environmental enrichment is direct observation of behavioral measures over time, such as the occurrence of stereotyped behavior.

But this method can be time consuming and may not always be practical which often leads caregivers to rely on non-systematic or subjective methods to evaluate enrichment. In this CAABChat Dr. Nicole Dorey will talk about the different methods of assessing an animal’s preferences and how they have been used traditionally. She will then describe the research she has done in applying preference testing to evaluating the effectiveness of particular environmental enrichment protocols to captive animals as varied as Galapagos Tortoises and Grey Wolves. We’ll also chat about the different kinds of questions this method can answer and how it can be further expanded in different settings.

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