Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

Previous Page


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #455
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Behavioral Science and Zoo Animal Welfare

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
Lucerne, Swissotel
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Lindsay Mehrkam, Ph.D.
Chair: Lindsay Renee Mehrkam (University of Florida)
LANCE MILLER (Chicago Zoological Society–Brookfield Zoo)
Lance J. Miller, Ph.D., is currently the Senior Director of Animal Welfare Research for the Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo. He received his graduate training in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Previously, he held positions as a Research Manager at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Scientist for the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Dr. Miller focuses on animal welfare in the areas of validating positive and negative indicators, the impact of unnatural social settings, holistic monitoring, and scientific assessment of environmental enrichment. Dr. Miller currently holds adjunct faculty status through the University of Chicago, Western Illinois University, the University of Southern Mississippi and Arizona State University. He is currently a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Research and Technology Committee, Chair of the AZA Animal Welfare Committee, and a steering committee member for the AZA Behavioral Scientific Advisory Group.

Zoos and aquariums strive to provide the highest levels of welfare for the animals under their care. This goal is achieved through evidence-based management where research, animal care and veterinary services work together to answer questions regarding animal welfare and turn findings into practice. Behavioral data is one of the many tools used within zoos and aquariums used to make informed management decisions. Historically, zoos primarily utilized negative indicators of welfare such as stereotypic or abnormal behavior. However, the absence of negative indicators of welfare does not suggest that an animal is thriving. The presentation will highlight the many different ways behavior data can be utilized within a zoo environment to ensure high levels of welfare. Examples include behavioral monitoring of the collection, asking specific questions regarding animal behavior, and preference assessments. Ultimately, behavioral data combined with many other positive and negative indicators of animal welfare can help ensure each individual animal within a zoo has the opportunity to thrive.

Target Audience:

The target audience should have a basic understanding of animal behavior and preferably some experience with environmental enrichment and animal welfare.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: (1) understand the difference between animal welfare and animal rights; (2) identify three different ways behavioral data are utilized within zoos and aquariums; (3) identify one way that behavioral data can be combined with other measures of animal welfare to provide a more holistic perspective; (4) identify three ways behavioral data has been used historically to answer questions surrounding animal welfare within a zoological environment.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh