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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Understanding and assessing emotions in marine mammals under professional care

  • Author(s): Delfour, Fabienne;
  • Charles, Aviva
  • et al.

In the last 30 years, concerns about animal emotions have emerged from the general public but also from animal professionals and scientists. Animals are now considered as sentient beings, capable of experiencing emotions such as fear or pleasure. Understanding animals’ emotions is complex and important if we want to guarantee them the best care, management, and welfare. The main objectives of the paper are, first, to give a brief overview of various and contemporary assessments of emotions in animals, then to focus on particular zoo animals, that is, marine mammals, since they have drawn a lot of attention lately in regards of their life under professional care. We discuss here 1 approach to monitor their emotions by examining their laterality to finally conclude the importance of understanding animal emotion from a holistic welfare approach.


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