In modern times, in the world of the interactions between humans and other animals, there are Behavioural Control Techiniques for all tastes: from dominant to gentle, from the scientific to the spiritual, from the ethnic to ethological, from positive to peaceful. Few people, however, are really aware of how these training techniques have a negative impact on the socio-cognitive abilities of animals.
Every animal has his own perception of the world, evolved phylogenetically and ontogenetically, with their own mental, emotional and social skills. In short, they are already ‘written blackboards’, they are already ‘vessels full’ in abilities, they are living beings already rich in their own innate wisdom. Due to the impact that Behavioural Control Techiniques (BCTs) often have on altering socio-cognitive skills, more and more often there are reported cases of animals that developed different sociopathic forms, intra-and inter-specific, more or less visible, more or less hidden: redirect aggression towards themselves, towards con-specifics or towards humans; aboulia and apathy; anxiety and depression; learned helplessness and other pathological states.
Recent research in the field of ethology and cognitive neuroscience and free thinkers linked to the fields of modern thoughts, begin to put under question with more and more strength every form of control of animal behaviour, not only because of the negative side effects caused, but also in recognition of a different status to the animal, as subject and sentient being, with his own rights.
BCTs have an anthropocentric value and are rooted in anachronistic interpretive disciplines such as behaviourism and classical ethology, that are disciplines under the critical judgment of history, science, ethics and philosophy. Concept as Operant Conditioning and Dominance Hierarchy, as examples, at the basis for the development of BCTs, reduce animals, ridiculously and inappropriately, into categories and objects, applying reductionist models that could give rise to the alteration and modification of behavior, for anthropocentric purposes.
Ensuring quality of life, moving beyond the old concept of welfare, is to give appropriate attention to the world of perception of the animal, that animal, avoiding anthropocentrisms and anthropomorphisms, ensuring the quality of their thoughts, the quality of their emotions, the quality of their feelings, the quality of their social world.
Author: Francesco De Giorgio
Photos source: internet