Newsletter – June 2017

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

1. Deep-sea octopuses can be told apart by their warts LINK

2. AI system detects pain in sheep LINK

3. Horses masticate similarly to ruminants LINK

4. Cockatoos keep their tools safe LINK

5. How dogs interact with each other affects decision making LINK

6. Elephants and body awareness LINK

7. Dogs and wolves have a sense of fairness LINK












More events on the website.

Cetacean posts from our Facebook page since the last newsletter

1. Inside The Tanks - a brilliant 34 minute long documentary about keeping cetaceans in captivity. Worth a watch. LINK

2. Brilliant answers by Dr Ingrid Visser to questions posed by Canada Senate's Oceans and Fisheries subcommittee. "I wasn't referring to trees for cetaceans" being one of my favourite bits and the way she tackles the person hood question. Also near the end "The senators have been presented with a lot of dichotomous information but they have also been presented with duplicitous information". A great case put forward for why Canada should introduce legislation to ban cetaceans in captivity. Fingers crossed. LINK

3. Learn how to identify whales by the noises they make. LINK

4. Mind-blowing video here - this footage shows SeaWorld's new show, which involves video footage of wild orca being projected onto a big screen doing similar behaviours as captive orca in a tiny concrete tank. Surely some people in the audience will think "....But that orca is in the ocean, which is totally incomparable to life in a tank - and the animal doesn't have a collapsed dorsal fin".

Sadly we expect that the words and distorted truths that accompany the show will counter some who see the cruelty. But maybe, just maybe, some people will join the dots and SeaWorld will turn some people against captivity......helping the campaign against keeping cetaceans in captivity along a little - fingers crossed. 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 mending my ailing blow up zebra, 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.


Lessons from counselling: applying key principles of counselling to our work with clients. Manchester. DETAILS.

The whole dog, with veterinary behaviourist Amber Batson. DETAILS

Multi-dog households with Sian Ryan. Surrey, DETAILS.

The Challenging Behaviour Case - with Amber Batson. DETAILS


Counselling skills for animal professionals (and students)

This event is valuable CPD for animal professionals. We will explore some techniques from counselling, which will help us in our work with clients. DETAILS

Copyright 2013 © Learningaboutanimals.co.uk

”He’s not fearful, just trying it on”

Whether a dog, horse, rabbit or any other animal this is something I hear frequently. We are too quick to think about fear as black and white - fearful or not fearful. But as we know from our own feelings, you can be really really scared of something and get the whole sheebang of physiological and behavioural  responses(run away full speed, eyes wide, heart rate through the roof) but also you can still be really quite unsure, and anxious and all sorts of emotions in between. Many people do not know enough about the body language of animals to be able to pick up on signs that animals are scared until they are terrified.

Whether it is the horse who doesn’t want to come in from the field, or the dog who is snappy when being groomed - animals do not just try it on for no reason. I believe that with humans too... As adults most people have learnt the ability to put up with things we don't like, but this doesn't mean there is no anxiety, we just learn to grit our teeth and do it. I think animals can learn how to do that too, but not by magic, they learn it through training and experience and it is our responsibility to teach them.

Three small ways to help animals today...

1. See something in a magazine or on TV that portrayed animals in a good way or an article you liked? We need to remember to respond to the good as well as the bad to influence the media to increase responsible reporting on animals and training. Give some good feedback today...

2. Enrichment for your pet - throw a handful of food onto grass for your dog to seek, play with your cat, give your rabbits something new to chew on. What will you do today?

3.  Sort out some of your unwanted things, sell them on E-bay and select a charity from their list to receive the money.

You may never know what results come from your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results" Gandhi


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