As the increasing body of scientific information about the experiences of other species and their ability to suffer becomes available to those working within the field of animal welfare, the amount of potential issues to address also increases. Carefully choosing issues to address, and indeed leaders to drive the cause forward, has the potential to significantly increase the efficacy of the international animal welfare movement. Within this study 15 leaders of major international animal welfare organizations were interviewed about their experiences, thoughts and strategies, which have been primarily acquired through long-term exposure to the movement, and endeavors of trial and error. After thematic analysis, key themes are presented, along with strategies and cautions that may be beneficial to the animal welfare movement. Animal welfare leaders suggested a focus on issues that fitted well with their organizations’ remit and were not too broad, to avoid spreading resources and expertise too thin. A utilitarian framework was also considered important, aiming to improve the lives of as many animals as possible for the resources deployed. Good leaders were believed to have passion for their cause, not just for animals, and an ability to build and lead good teams, hence good interpersonal human skills were also perceived as essential. It is concluded that establishing what makes a good animal welfare leader could offer useful direction for future engagement of successful leaders in this field.
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