It may seem implausible to social typical humans, but many ASD symptoms are indicative of “zoochosis” that occurs when we are forced to inhabit social environments.
Go to: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/zoo-check/captive-wildlife-issues/abnormal-behaviours/ for videos of zoo animals and specific abnormal behaviors Videos are also available on YOUTUBE
We don’t care about animals or children; how many American kids live in neighborhoods that are no more healthy than zoos?
Zoochosis: Abnormal and Stereotypic behaviour in Captive Animals
Ensuring reasonable animal welfare in captivity is extremely challenging. Animal species have evolved over millennia and their physical, physiological and behavioural traits have developed in order to optimise their chances of survival in their natural environment.
In captivity, animals may face a number of challenges for which evolution has not prepared them. The climate, diet and the size and characteristics of the enclosure may be completely alien to the species as it exists in the wild.
Captive animals may no longer be able to have control over their environment, nor carry out evolved behaviours aimed at enhancing their welfare or survival prospects. Instead they must rely on humans to provide for many of their physical, social, biological and other needs.
If the captive environment does not cater for the species-specific needs of the animal, there can be a deterioration in both physical and mental health such as the development of abnormal behaviour, disease and even early mortality.
Similarly, invasive interventions such as the restriction of movement, training using negative reinforcement techniques, being trained to preform unnatural behaviours or making modifications to the normal physiology of animals to reduce risks when handling, can cause severe and lasting distress.
Abnormal behaviour can include stereotypic behaviours – repetitive behaviours which appear to have no obvious goal or function – such as repetitive pacing, swaying, head-bobbing or circling and bar-biting ‘demonstrably caused by the frustration of natural behaviour patterns, impaired brain function, or repeated attempts to deal with some problem’ (Mason, 2005); over-grooming, excessive licking and vocalisation are recognised as displacement behaviours, ‘arising out of conflict when an animal is driven to perform two behaviours at the same time’ e.g. conflict between the fear of the keeper and the desire to get food (Bacon 2011); apathy and redirected aggression.
Other forms of stereotypic behaviour seen in captive wild animals includes: Apathy, where an animal is abnormally passive and does not react to stimuli. Occurs particularly when social animals are separated from companions; Abnormal mother-infant relationship, where mothers attack, abandon or kill their offspring, or where mothers wean offspring too soon or too late; Prolonged infantile behaviour, where animals do not mature properly or acquire aberrant social behaviours e.g. excessive crying or vocalisation, lack of social confidence, lack of secondary sexual characteristics; Abnormal aggressive behaviour, where aggression is uncontrolled, in terms of intensity and frequency, or directed to the wrong individuals or objects. This can be the result of overcrowding, threats by social dominants, isolation from companions or pressure from zoo visitors.
In 1992, Bill Travers, co-founder of the Born Free Foundation, first coined the term ‘zoochosis’ to describe this obsessive, repetitive behaviour, and described zoo animals behaving abnormally as ‘zoochotic’.
In 1993, the Zoo Check Charitable Trust (now the Born Free Foundation), produced The Zoochotic Report, video observations by the late Bill Travers, taken over 3 years in over 100 zoos in Europe, North America and the Far East. The Zoochotic Report raised serious concern about the effects of captivity on wild animals. The Report helped form the philosophies for our organisation and its animal welfare objectives.
“In every zoo I visited when compiling the Zoochotic Report, I witnessed some sort of abnormal behaviour” Bill Travers, Co-Founder of the Born Free Foundation.
Further explanation on abnormal behaviour and examples: