Why animal welfare does matter?
The World Association of Zoo and Aquariums [WAZA] refers to the importance of animal welfare to modern collections, in terms of managing healthy, viable populations for conservation reasons, and conveying reliable conservation-education messages to the visiting public (WAZA, 2005). Therefore, zoos have a responsibility to ensure the highest possible standards of welfare among their animals.
Welfare assessments are complex, especially when incorporating best practice of using a range of measures. Understanding the impact of captive environmental factors on zoo animal welfare, providing animals with conditions that meet their needs, and promoting the use and expression of positive welfare indicators will take us a long way to meeting the goal (Melfi, 2009). In implementing animal welfare practices or developing animal welfare standards, our efforts, in addition to being based on science, need to make a reasonable fit to the different views about what constitutes a good life for animals (Fraser, 2009).
Improving animal welfare should ideally go along with assessments of the impact of these efforts on zoo visitors’ perceptions, as both are important angles to consider rather than just a satisfactory one (Melfi, 2009).
Today, animal welfare is proving to be a prerequisite to convey reliable conservation and educational messages to visitors.
Dr Amélie Romain, animal welfare scientist, ensures you a high-quality service for your animal welfare related questions and projects:
- Zoos: zoo design, enrichment programs, layout, follow-up studies on animal welfare
- Research: collaboration on research projects on topics of animal welfare, conservation and visitor impact
- Rehoming and resocialisation: rehoming laboratory animals, resocialisation (process of integrating individuals in existing groups, assessing multi-species exhibits, etc.)