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International conference on animal behaviours set in Charlottetown

Cows at pasture in Ship Cove.
In this SaltWire Network photo: Cows at pasture in Ship Cove. - Barb Sweet

More than 200 experts on animal behavior and welfare are set to come to P.E.I. for an international conference in Charlottetown.

Participants from 27 countries will attend the International Society for Applied Ethology’s (ISAE) 2018 International Congress.

The ISAEU is the leading scientific society for the study of the behavior and welfare of confined or domesticated animals including companion, farm, zoo and managed wild animals.

The Congress will bring together ethological and veterinary research under the theme, “ethology for health and welfare,” with a specific session on veterinary aspects of ethology and welfare.

Some topics of the conference include the ability of animals to evaluate technology (like virtual fencing), brain imaging to visualize neural activity associated with emotions in sheep, problems in using aversive dog training methods, factors affecting fighting in pigs and different types of play behaviour in animals.

Of note are three presentations on the first day of the conference.

First is the Wood-Gush Memorial Lecture by Steven Harnad, professor of psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal, who will discuss the difficulty in studying the feelings of animals and the implications of animal sentience on the use of animals in society.

Later, Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal scientist who successfully applied research on animal behaviour to methods of handling and slaughter, will speak on how to apply academic research on animal behaviour to commercial farms and slaughter plants.

Then Jackie Wepruk, general manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council, will explain how research on animal behaviour is integrated into the national codes of practice written by livestock commodity groups.

There are about 700 members of the ISAE. This is the second time the congress will be held in Canada and only fifth time in North America.

During the conference there will be 117 oral presentations and 89 poster presentations. Topics cover behaviour and welfare of various species including horses, cattle, companion animals, laying hens, swine, sheep and goats, wildlife, and laboratory animals.

The congress will be held at the Atlantic Veterinary College from July 30 to Aug. 3.

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