Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach

Last week saw JMICAWE staff participate in the third European workshop on "Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach". Whilst the meeting is focused primarily on the welfare of livestock species, due to lobbying by campaign groups, captive wildlife welfare sessions have also been included on the agenda. Co-ordinating the sessions on captive wildlife welfare, Heather works with groups with differing philosophies and approaches, to the issues of animal welfare in a zoo environment. Regardless of our own personal opinions on the role of the modern zoo, its undeniable that standards of animal welfare vary greatly from collection to collection, and only by discussing these issues in a constructive environment can we hope to improve this situation. We believe that it is only by engaging with all stakeholders that progress can be made and so this meeting brought together experts from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, The Born Free Foundation, DG Environment (responsible for the EU zoos directive), Chester Zoo and the Riga Zoo, to share experiences and discuss contentious issues with delegates from a range of backgrounds including government, policy, zoo and campaign groups. Topics covered included addressing deficiencies in knowledge and expertise amongst staff, issues of choice and control in animal management strategies, the hand-rearing of young animals and dealing with surplus stock in zoos.

This is the third European workshop with previous regional meetings held in Budapest and Barcelona, and more meetings coming up over the next few months.

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