Human behaviour change for animals and the natural world

This webinar will provide vets and animal welfare professionals with a good understanding of the theories of human behaviour change and the interpersonal skills required to be able to apply them effectively - for our animal patients, and for protecting the natural world.

For vets and animal welfare professionals, the ultimate goal is to change the behaviour of animal owners in order to improve the lives of the animals. To be as effective as we can be, we need optimum owner compliance. This webinar will explore some of the principles of human behaviour change with a focus on the communication skills needed to apply them. The root cause of much animal suffering is human behaviour. However, traditional approaches to improving animal welfare have focussed on providing a service, such as accessible veterinary treatment.

The understanding of why people do what they do, don’t do what you’d like them to, and more often than not do not change their behaviour, is the holy grail of anyone with something to sell, a campaign to promote or a desire to improve the world. For this reason human behaviour change has been studied by experts in marketing, psychology, development, and health and education programmes – understanding human behaviour is important for anyone with an interest in helping the world to be a better place for humans or animals.

Extra reading and recommendations


Fostering Sustainable Change by Doug McKenzie-Mohr - focused on social marketing approaches

Methods in Community Participation by Somesh Kumar - largely relates to human-oriented work, but can be adapted to different contexts and to working with animals

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg - So much about caring for animals is habitual, so we need to learn how to create new habits and ditch old ones!

Switch: How to change things when change is hard by Dan Heath (and all other books by same authors) - Pop psychology at it's best!


Motivational interviewing course - Aone-hour introduction to Motivational Interviewing (MI). MI is a technique used in healthcare settings (short consultations) aimed to engage the client and result in them making changes to their lifestyle. MI is becoming increasingly used in the animal and veterinary sectors. Access it here.


It's not about the nail- short film. Watch the difference when the man changes from confrontational language and providing solutions to empathetic language! Watch it here.

Behaviour change strategy cards - easier to read than a book! Access them here

Leah Garces - Ted Talk, A lesson in turning adversaries in to allies. Access here.

The Fogg Model - The Fogg Behavior Model (FBM), read more here.

Human Behaviour Change for Animals - Courses, resources and consultancy. Visit the website.

Libby Kemkaran Thompson - Consultancy and courses. Visit the website.

Human behaviour change for animals and the natural world

With Libby Kemkaran-Thompson and Suzanne Walker on behalf of Vet Sustain in partnership with The Webinar Vet - a platform that was created to make veterinary education easier, more accessible and affordable.