Hosted by Apenheul, The Netherlands (23-26 March, 2020)

EAZA is proud to announce the launch of its first Animal Welfare Forum. The Animal Welfare Forum will bring together up to 200 representatives of zoos and aquariums, welfare organisations and academic institutions for three days of workshops, presentations and other activities, discussing and highlighting an evidence-based approach to animal welfare and bridging the gap between welfare research and application.

Conference schedule


Monday 23 March Academy course, side meetings and icebreaker
Tuesday 24 March Conference Day 1 (EAZA)
Wednesday 25 March Conference Day 2 (WAZA) 
Thursday 26 March Conference Day 3 (EAZA) and farewell dinner
Friday 27 March Apenheul tour & optional visit


Click here to view the draft conference programme 


A very warm welcome to Apenheul Primate Park Foundation! We are tremendously proud to be the host of the first EAZA Animal Welfare Forum. It was the vision of our founding fathers in the early ‘70’s to create a park from the perspective of animals, especially primates, where people are merely guests. Our animals are free roaming or housed on islands, with natural boundaries where possible. As humans we are guests in their world and this has led to a unique park with over 18 free roaming primate species and another 17 other primate species on islands, in a lush, green environment.

We love nature and hope that a visit to our park increases the love of nature and animals in particular within our guests. A mission maybe even more relevant today, then when our park was founded. Given the fact that we house and take care of animals to fulfil our mission, we want to be a frontrunner when it comes to animal welfare.

The way we look at animals and their wellbeing is not static. It develops in time and is becoming a more important topic to the general public. Zoos are experts on this matter and have a lot of expertise with regards to animal husbandry, their behaviour and physical and psychological needs and wellbeing. And many of us also work with renowned institutes and universities to enhance our knowledge and that of others on this matter. This gives us the opportunity to be on the forefront in the discussion on animal welfare and become a reference point on this important topic.

We hope that this first EAZA Animal Welfare Forum will be the start of a joint and continues welfare program in zoos and other institutions. A start of the metaphoric bridge we need to build to combine the knowledge of scientific institutions with the practical experience of zoos. All this so we can work together to continually improve animal welfare, in as well as outside our parks.

From all of us at Apenheul, we wish you an inspiring and fruitful event!

Roel Welsing

Managing Director 
Apenheul Foundation

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Conference theme: Bridging the Gap: Bringing together animal welfare research and application, to improve evidence-based animal welfare best practice

Click here to view the draft conference programme

With new advances in animal welfare research and understanding, it is important that we are able to employ this science in our collections to ensure we are doing everything we can to promote positive animal welfare. The first session is solely dedicated to this theme with a direct focus on animal welfare assessment.

The programme is then structured to reflect Mellor and Beausoleil’s (2015) extended Five Domains of Animal Welfare model. The four Physical/Functional Domains: Nutrition, Environment, Health & Behaviour and the one Affective Experience Domain: Mental State. Each domain is explored with the lens of the bridging the gap theme, focusing on how we can implement the research in each of these areas within the our zoos and aquariums.

There is more coming!

This is the initial programme release, we are currently working on expanding presentations and workshops in a number of areas of the programme, particularly concerning affective states. We are exploring welfare research across all animal science fields which can offer teachings that can be extrapolated and add to our knowledge in the zoo community!

Join our Facebook group 'EAZA Animal Welfare' for updates on the programme, and keep an eye on this website.

Please note: All programme details were correct at the point of programme release. However, details may be subject to change. Refunds cannot be given due to programme change.



Early bird rate is available until 22 January 2020, student discount fees are unfortunately not available. In case of questions please contact

Pricing schedule

Full conference, early rate €330 
Full conference (late rate) €395 
Single day, early rate €115
Single day, regular rate €132 


Click here: Register now for the EAZA Animal Welfare Forum 2020!

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Call for Abstracts

We are opening our second round of abstract submission with a focus in the areas of research surrounding the Five Domains of Health, Behaviour, Environment, Nutrition and Affective states and how research in these areas can be linked directly back to animal welfare and implementation within our zoos and aquariums. Submissions are welcomed from both practitioners and researchers in all fields of animal science.

  • The topic of your abstract should support the forum theme - ‘Bridging the Gap’ - bringing together animal welfare research and application, to improve evidence-based animal welfare best practice.
  • Submissions are welcomed from both practitioners and researchers.
  • Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and written in English.
  • Indicate if your submission is for an oral presentation (20 minutes), poster or workshop (1 hour).
  • Please use the Abstract Form provided, available here.
  • All delegates, including speakers, must register for the conference.
  • Please submit your abstracts to EAZA Animal Welfare Coordinator:, before 30 October 2019, with ‘AWF20 - [Poster/workshop/presentation] - Abstract - [Name]’ in the subject line.

Pre-forum recommended reading

Mellor, D.J. and Beausoleil, N.J. (2015) Extending the 'Five Domains' model for animal welfare assessment to incorporate positive welfare states. Animal Welfare 24:241-253

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Enriching Enrichment: Bridging the gap between ‘occupational enrichment’ and ‘species specific ecology based enrichment

This course is aimed at anyone involved or interested in the implementation of enrichment programs and their effect on an animals well-being. Using a theoretical and practical approach we will explore the different facets of planning, implementation, evaluation and re-adjustment of enrichment programs. Looking through the lens of promoting agency we will analyse how to achieve enrichment success in the physical, psychological engagement of an animal whilst aligning with species specific ecological needs.

Instructors: Thomas Bionda, Apenheul Primate Park & Lisette van den Berg, Utrecht University

Location: Kambizuri Lodges (Apenheul Primate Park) 

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 The hotels listed below are recommended, based on close proximity to the venue as well as promotional pricing for conference delegates. Feel free to look for other accommodation options in the area. 

Hotel Distance to venue Single room Double room Contact Booking reference
Van der Valk Apeldoorn  7.3 km  €115 €125  GF3957
Van der Valk de Cantharel  4.8 km   €99,50 €114   CAN-GF-63166
Charme Hotel Hoog Soeren  3.9 km  €99 €99  Apenheul AWF
Bilderberg de Keizerskroon  3.0 km  €119 €134   Apenheul AWF
Stayokay  1.2 km  €65 €65   Apenheul AWF
Fletcher Apeldoorn  1.1 km  €80 €90  F72-GFC4638


The above rates are available until 31-12-2019. Please note that rates are excluding a tourism tax of 2,38 a night per person