Behaviourists for Blackfish


About us:

We are a group of people working professionally as behaviourists or interested in animal behaviour. As such we understand the importance of thinking about the needs of animals and those of us working professionally spend a lot of time striving to help animals to be able to express their natural behaviours.

It can’t help but be noted that it is impossible to meet the needs of cetaceans in captivity. They need to swim for many miles a day, dive, live in families, in many cases migrate etc. However much we might want to keep them contained so that we can see them it is simply cruel.

We are therefore campaigning for the ban of these animals in captivity - so that no more can be caught from the wild for the captive industry and no more breeding can be undertaken. For those whales already in captivity the feasibility of rehabilitation and release must be explored - for those who are deemed unsuitable for release back into the wild they should be given the opportunity to live out their lives in sea pens.

In addition, many of us are behaviourists who promote training using positive reinforcement. However we are concerned with some aspects of the culture developing around this type of training in that it is sometimes used as an excuse not to truly listen to the animal or think about their needs. “I am a kind trainer because I train using positive reinforcement” seems to be the message rather than thinking about the wider context of what is really in it for the animal, and is the conditional relationship built from rewards as positive as we like to think it is. The training with cetaceans in captivity is based on the same principles as training domestic animals and so we are also interested in the evolving arena of ethics surrounding training across species.  


The group was set up, is coordinated and managed by Suzanne Rogers and an anonymous donor. Sarah Fisher and Anthony Head have been generous members and very supportive of this project - for this we are eternally grateful. The other members are equally appreciated and are listed here in alphabetical order. Please check out their web sites, their membership shows that they are true animal advocates across species.

If you would like to join please contact Suzanne at suzanne@learningaboutanimals.co.uk - read this plea!

Suzanne Rogers - Learning About Animals

Sarah Fisher and Anthony Head - Tilley Farm


Vicky Alhadeff - Happy Dogs and Cats

Catherine Bell - Barefoot trimmer, equine behaviour and training

Michelle Clark

Pennie Clayton - Horse and Hound School

Susan Gammage - HDC Behaviour

Lorraine Godfrey

Miranda Luck - animal welfare consultancy

Emily MacDonald - Behaviourist

Kirstin Main - equine behaviourist

Laura McNea

Johanna Richardson -Norfolk horse training and equitation club

David Ryan - dog behaviour consultancy

Anna Saillet - equine behaviourist

Helen Springett

Lotta Von Der Heyde - equine behaviourist

Julie Walsham

Caroline Warnes - veterinary behaviourist



These people have supported the project in various awesome ways and their help is very much appreciated.

Andrew Davies - Campaign Film

Ben Hart - Hart’s Horsemanship

Kendal Shepherd - veterinary behaviourist

Judith Scott - wildlife photographer

Louisa Tasker - animal welfarist


Target Project 1 - £3,500

We are very very nervous about fundraising because we hate asking people for money. So we have worked out ways that you can get something in return for your money as follows.  Project 1 is a short film to raise awareness - see here for details.



How to help 2: Become a member of Behaviourists for Blackfish

There are different levels of membership, you don’t have to be working as a behaviourist, just interested in behaviour, and you can get different goodies with each and be part of something really special. Read more here.

How to help:

Buy whale bags!

Buy an organic shoulder bag with a blue whale on it (they didn’t have any with orcas on!). Only £10 and it folds into its own pocket, what more could you want for Christmas presents? Click here for details and to order.


How to help 3: Peer to peer distance CPD

Attend or be the speaker for a series of web conferences - by behaviourists, for behaviourists. We can share experiences and recent learning in unique CPD opportunities that also build support networks so important for this type of work.

For more details see this page.


How to help 5: Help us to think of more ideas on how to help!


How to help 4: Webinars for whales

Attend or help promote a series of webinars for animal owners and professionals on selected Thursday evenings - ‘30 minute Thursdays for a fiver’. If you could promote the events to your clients and colleagues more people will ‘attend’ and more money raised.

For more details see this page.


Learn more about this project by clicking HERE