EAZA ANIMAL WELFARE WEBINARS

EAZA is committed to ensuring promotion of positive animal welfare and being a recognised organisation for animal welfare research and application

EAZA Welfare Webinars are free and open to all, to support animal management professionals across the wider animal management community. Please see below an overview of past welfare webinars. 

The EAZA Welfare Webinars are kindly sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

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Applying the Science of Behaviour Change

with Jim Mackie from ZSL London Zoo

This webinar demonstrates how science-based animal training has a significant welfare benefit on all kinds of animals in Zoos and aquaria, in many different ways. From arapaima to zebra, and everything in between, we will show how training is not just for the flagship mammals, but for every type of animal in the zoo. Using examples from across the taxonomic groups, we will explore the diverse ways in which Zoo animal caregivers are replacing traditional methods of husbandry and medical care, such as manual restraint, with a co-operative and progressive approach, and provide evidence into how this change is having a positive impact on Zoo animal welfare, whatever the animal.

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People, Animal Welfare and Conservation

with Dr Sally Sherwen from Zoos Victoria

Exciting new research and developments are underway that demonstrates the interconnectedness between staff well-being and positive workplace culture, animal welfare standards and conservation outcomes. Historically, many have considered these areas as conflicting priorities that need to compete for resourcing within and between organisations. But science is now demonstrating the extent of overlap across these focus areas and potential for significant advancements if we re-imagine how we approach our zoo-based work programs. In this talk, I’ll use case study examples of what we’ve learned from better integrating programs of work across various disciplines and departments in an effort to expand reach and impact of our work.

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C-Well dolphin assessment

with Dr Isabella Clegg from Animal Welfare Expertise

Zoos and aquaria have made significant progress in developing their understanding and measurement of animal welfare over the last decade. Many institutions are therefore looking to further advance their welfare programs to be able to take more detailed welfare data, and more efficiently. This presentation lays out the next steps for such organisations, including identifying “high-risk” species and prioritising them by conducting detailed, species-specific welfare assessments on these animals to improve their welfare and increase transparency for the public. The C-Well Assessment for dolphins will be described as an example of such a tool, and the latest updates and findings will be discussed. Another important element of zoo welfare programs is the use of technology to aid welfare data collection, and AnimalCare Software’s recently released welfare templates will be showcased here as a powerful platform for efficiently gathering data and most importantly, it allows instant analysis of huge datasets so that results can be used to make real time improvements.

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The 'Five Domains' model

The 'Five Domains' model with guest Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil

The Five Domains Model has been used to guide assessment of animal welfare for 25 years and has been regularly extended and updated during that time to reflect evolution of thinking and knowledge about animals and their welfare. Using the model, information about the observable/ measurable state of the animal is compiled in four physical/functional domains relating to its: 1. Nutrition/Hydration; 2. Physical Environment; 3. Health; and 4. Behavioural Interactions. This information is then used to cautiously infer the animal’s likely mental experiences, which are most relevant to its welfare state, in Domain 5: Mental State. The latest version of the model focusses attention on the welfare implications of animals’ various interactions with humans, primarily through evidence compiled in Domain 4. This extension of the model and illustrations of the mental experiences arising from animal-human interactions will be useful for those caring for animals in a wide range of contexts.

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Developing a welfare risk assessment tool

Institutional Welfare Assessment Tool Development and Application; unexpected learnings with Dr Sally Sherwen

This webinar will focus on the process that Zoos Victoria went through in developing a welfare risk assessment tool based on the five domains (with collaboration with Prof David Mellor). The process has been trialled and refined over the past 4 years, and as such, they can draw on a relatively long-term dataset to present changes and progress over time. Sally will also discuss the challenges and limitations of the process, as well as the value it has brought to advancing welfare standards across Zoos Victoria

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Designing cognitive bias tests

How can we tell if animals are optimists or pessimists? Designing cognitive bias tests to measure animal welfare in zoos and aquaria with Dr Isabella Clegg

Cognitive bias tests can reveal whether animals make more optimistic or pessimistic judgements of ambiguous stimuli. They remain one of the most valid tools for measuring welfare, where results show animals in poor welfare judge more pessimistically, and vice versa. While these tests have been widely applied to farm, domestic and laboratory species, only a few studies have taken place in zoos and aquaria.

This presentation will explore the opportunities of cognitive bias testing in zoos, managing the many uncontrollable variables in this environment, and how understanding cognitive bias can help caretakers to enhance welfare

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The importance of nutrition in animal welfare

Welfare starts with broccoli: What is nutritional welfare and how can I make sure my animals have it? with Dr Francis Cabana

Nutrition is fundamental in animal welfare and has a much bigger part than you think. The first step is giving the right nutrients for the species, activity level and life stage. This sounds straightforward but depending on the species, you may have little to no information to tell you what is ideal for them, so we need to use a number of techniques to assess how adequate the diet is. Last step is how you present the diet to stimulate natural feeding behaviours, which we tend to describe as enrichment – Francis just calls it nutrition welfare

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Zoo visitor-animal interactions

Zoo visitor-animal interactions: a framework to progress our understanding of impacts on animal welfare with Prof. Vicky Melfi

People are a defining feature of zoos and the appreciation that they impact animal welfare is growing.  Zoo visitors can have positive, negative or no impact on zoo animal welfare.  Reviews of the growing body of research studying zoo visitor-animal interactions (ZVAI), identify that patterns are hard to discern across studies. Vicky suggests this is because not all ZVAI are equal and therefore comparisons need to be considered carefully.  Drawing on functional differences between ZVAI, from the perspective of how they are implemented are described here, and proposed as framework for considering ZVAI in the future.  The proposed framework aims to provide a transparent, systematic and objective approach to considering ZVAI, when considering how they might impact animal welfare.

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Behavioural diversity

Behavioural diversity as a potential positive indicator of animal welfare with Dr Lance Miller

There is growing evidence that behavioural diversity may be a positive indicator of animal welfare.  Validating positive indicators of welfare is critical because absence of negative indicators of welfare does not demonstrate an animal is in a good state of welfare. The presentation will highlight historic research on the topic of behavioural diversity as well as provide some new data that lends further support. Specifically, the presentation will highlight behavioural restriction and impacts on animal welfare, positive animal management situations that lead to higher behavioural diversity, the relationship between stereotypic behaviour and behavioural diversity, and relationships between behavioural diversity and physiological indicators of animal welfare.

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Animal Welfare; threat or opportunity?

Animal Welfare; threat or opportunity to zoos and aquariums? with Dr Jake Veasey

Animal welfare is often perceived to be a threat to zoos and aquariums, in this presentation I will argue it is an opportunity but one that requires new ways of thinking. In recent years the acceptability of keeping a number of species in captivity has been eroded, with bans considered or implemented in a range of jurisdictions for a variety of taxa, and some facilities have permanently closed following perceived failings in welfare management. Such ethical shifts and challenges need not be considered as inevitable or one-way if the zoo and aquarium community is proactive in addressing welfare issues in a meaningful and transparent manner. I’ll consider some of the lessons learnt from species for which the social license for keeping in zoos and aquariums has been challenged and provide some insights into novel tools zoos and aquariums should consider using to maximise welfare and protect their social license.

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Assessing animal welfare under human care

The Fundamentals of Animal Welfare Assessments with Xavier Manteca Vilanova

Assessing the welfare of wild animals under human care is a significant challenge due to the large number and sheer diversity of species involved, and to the fact that many of them are poorly known. The objective of this webinar is to discuss how this challenge can be addressed by using existing protocols and current knowledge on natural behaviour. In addition, several welfare indicators are likely to be applicable to a wide variety of species.

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Quality of Life Assessments

with Heather Bacon

This webinar explores the terminology around end of life decision-making in zoo animals: euthanasia, quality of life and population management euthanasia. We explore the different ethical perspectives on these procedures, the animal welfare impacts, and the various factors that may influence our decision-making. This webinar suggests useful approaches to making difficult end-of-life decisions for animals in your zoo. 

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Animal welfare in relation to modern zoo practices

with Thomas Bionda

This presentation is about the importance of animal welfare for many zoo practices. How can we regard welfare assessments as a benefit and opportunity, rather than as a cost (time), and consider incorporating them in institutional collection planning for instance? What roles do animals have and how does the new EAZA Population Management strategy fits in this idea (including the role identification and its consequences for housing conditions)? And last but not least, does breeding significantly affect animal welfare as is often claimed? If so or not, what consequences does this have for zoos' missions and goals and how we manage it?  

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