Learning About Animals was set up to provide information and promote interest in
the welfare and behaviour of animals. The aim is to bridge the gap between professionals
& scientists working with animals and the public.
If you have any suggestions for future events, if you would like to be considered
to be a speaker, or if you would like to get involved in helping at the events, or
projects please get in touch.
Recent research and links of interest
1. I recently published a series of short articles about horses - read them all
6. Rachel Casey defends shock collar ban on TV LINK
Sponsor a fun education session for children
I regularly run sessions for Brownies, Guides, Pony Club and similar groups. If you'd
like to sponsor a session it would be greatly appreciated as then I can do more of
them. £25 supports my expenses to attend and also money towards things like buying
materials and developing the content. The groups usually run a collection for an
animal charity – part of the Friends to Animals badge is to identify an issue and
charity to support. The sessions aim to excite children about animals, to get them
interested in and foster compassion towards them.
SATURDAY MARCH 10TH - SURREY A lifetime of behaviour: exploring factors that can influence
behaviour in animals from before birth to old age with Caroline Warnes. Details
SUNDAY MARCH 18TH - SURREY Exploring ethical clicker training. Details
SATURDAY 21ST APRIL - SURREY Its a dog’s life with Natalie Light. Details
"It seems that some owners do not fully understand what dogs find frightening and
how our behaviour can impact on their welfare. Shouting, smacking and the use of
choke chains, pinch collars, spray collars and electric shock collars can all cause
fear and pain."
A long-awaited new report from the RSPCA includes information about modern day dog
keeping and how it doesn't always meet the behavioural needs of dogs. Download the
whole report from LINK
I have had a hugely varied set of horse behaviour consultations this week - the owners
expecting and requiring wildly different things of their horses, all of them loving
their horses very much. I often ponder that much of what we expect from horses goes
against what horses really truly are, as individuals, and instead comes from a vision
or perception of what we think horses could/should be to us. It is endlessly sad
that so much of what we expect from horses is to their detriment and against the
nature of their entire species. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.
Humans dress up cruelty in equestrian culture as 'needed' and under the idea that
the horses 'have a job that must be done to earn their keep' but what happens when
we take a step back?.. when we look at our expectations from owning horses and see
how much is what we want, and how much the horse would really want if they really
had a choice. How much of how we keep them is truly for their benefit, and how much
for our convenience or what we do due to received knowledge rather than thinking
Sometimes thinking those questions through leads to unexpected realisations and modified
goals, and can be part of a beautiful fulfilling journey. So this week I encourage
you to take a deep breath, and think about what you expect from the animals in your
life and how much of themselves they have to 'give' to fulfill your expectations
- do you like the answer?
(P.S. The first picture was chosen as on first glance it is beautiful and could be
said to truly capture the spirit of the horse but what do I see? I see questions
- why is the horse rearing? a behaviour that rarely happens without human intervention.
Was he/she trained to rear? How? Are the legs tucked in to avoid a swinging whip?
Why is the rear so high? Yes we can train a horse to rear, it is easy to do so, but
should we? For me this picture is more sinister than beautiful, the others are beautiful
enough, horses being individual horses, we don't need the myths and magic or the
falsely created postures, horses are amazing just the way they are.)