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The Least Inhibitive, Functionally Effective (LIFE) Model: With Eduardo Fernandez Ph.d

CEUs: PPAB 1.5, CCPDT 1.5. KPA 1.5, PMCT 1.5, & IAABC 1.5
The Least Inhibitive, Functionally Effective (LIFE) Model: With Eduardo Fernandez Ph.d


February 21, 2024 - February 15, 2029    
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm (ET)


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The ethics of animal training procedures have seen dramatic changes in the last few decades, with a movement toward reward-based training methods. These reward-based training practices have also been directly impacted by the behavioral and animal welfare sciences, including their research outputs. In the last couple of decades, the Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) model of animal training has been used to describe reward-based animal training methods. However, a number of problems were built into the creation of LIMA and continue to exist today, including (a) a lack of clarity in its terminology, (b) ambiguity in desired training approaches, and (c) a history of aversive training methods justification. An alternative approach is therefore proposed, and one that specifies (1) increasing choices by inhibiting less, (2) the importance of function, and (3) defining success as more than simply being effective. The result is the Least Inhibitive, Functionally Effective (LIFE) approach to ethical animal training methods. LIFE is discussed in terms of its connection to established terminology, behavioral principles, and training practices, as well as its ability to promote optimal welfare for the animals under our care and in our lives.

Your Presenter –  Eduardo Fernandez 

Eduardo J. Fernandez is a Senior Lecturer of Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide (Australia). He received his Ph.D. in Psychology (minors in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior) from Indiana University, where he worked with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Zoo. He received his M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas, where he founded the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA). Most of his past and current work involves behavioral research applied to the welfare and training of zoo, aquarium, and companion animals. His past positions include a Visiting Professorship at Seattle Pacific University, a Visiting Professorship in the School of Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, an Affiliate Assistant Professorship in the Psychology Department at the University of Washington, a Research Fellowship with Woodland Park Zoo, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. While working with UW and the Woodland Park Zoo, he started the Behavioral Enrichment Animal Research (BEAR) group, which conducted welfare research with many of the species and exhibits located throughout the zoo. He currently runs the Operant Welfare Lab (OWL), which is dedicated to the use of learning principles to improve the lives of animals across many settings, including exotic animals in zoos and companion animals in homes and shelters. OWL is also part of the broader Animal Behaviour, Welfare, and Anthrozoology Lab (ABWAL; Many of Eduardo’s past publications, research projects, and presentations can be found on his ResearchGate profile.

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