The veterinarian-behavioral management interface

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The role of veterinarians in the behavioral management of nonhuman primates (NHPs) used in research has both legal and historical precedent. In 1985, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was amended to ensure that facilities housing primates develop a plan for promoting their psychological well-being, and the act further specified that this plan should be directed by the attending veterinarian. Meanwhile, veterinarians made many direct and indirect contributions that would shape primate behavioral management in the years to come. Viktor Reinhardt and Kathryn Bayne, for example, were involved directly in behavioral management, developing techniques and setting industry standards that remain relevant to this day (Reinhardt et al. 1989; Bayne et al. 1992). Others, such as Michale Keeling, recognized the need for formal research in behavioral management techniques (Weed 2006), assembling teams of behavioral scientists who could build the same evidence-based standards that veterinary medicine aspires to. The involvement of veterinarians in primate behavioral management programs continues even today. A survey conducted in 2014 (Baker 2016) reported that 37% of primate environmental enhancement programs are directly overseen by a veterinarian. Yet there are many anecdotal reports of veterinary and behavioral management staff either failing to communicate well or being actively at odds with one another-concerns that are often voiced in informal gatherings of one group, where the other group is absent. Indeed, there are some characteristics of laboratory veterinarians, behavioral specialists, and their respective professional training that likely serve as natural barriers to effective communication and cooperation. By acknowledging these barriers and taking steps to mitigate them, especially in areas where the two groups most commonly interact, veterinarians and behavioral specialists can maximize their cooperation in service of enhancing the lives of the NHPs in their care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Primate Behavioral Management
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781498731966
ISBN (Print)9781498731959
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Veterinary
  • General Neuroscience


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