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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- read this plea!
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.
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