Zoochosis

From WikiAnimal

Zoochosis is a form of psychosis that develops in animals held captive in zoos. It often manifests in what are called stereotypic behaviors, or stereotypies, which are often monotonous, obsessive, repetitive actions that serve no purpose.[1] Zoochosis is mental anguish made visible by abnormal behavior, and it’s a common indicator of poor welfare.[1]

Animals evolved in the wild, where they could roam freely, interact socially, problem solve, and in general live a rich sensory life. Captivity, whether in zoos, circuses, aquariums, or elsewhere, denies them of this. Crucially, stereotypical behaviors do not occur in the wild but are exclusively seen in animals held in captivity.[1]

If the captive environment does not fully cater for the species-specific needs of an animal or if it imposes unnatural stress or frustration, there can be a deterioration in the animal’s physical and mental health. This may manifest in the development of physical disease or abnormal behavior.[2] Abnormal behavior in captive animals can include stereotypic behaviors – highly repetitive, invariant, functionless behavior such as repetitive pacing, swaying, head-bobbing, bar-biting, over-grooming or excessive licking.[2] These behaviors result from “the frustration of natural behavior patterns, impaired brain function or repeated attempts to deal with some problem”.[2]

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