An Animal Welfare Risk Assessment Process for Zoos
Department of Wildlife Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria, Victoria 3052, Australia
The Animal Welfare Science Centre, the University of Melbourne, Victoria 3051, Australia
Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, School of Veterinary Science, Massey University, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 28 July 2018
To retain social license to operate, achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare need to be institutional priorities for zoos. In order to be confident in the delivery of high standards of animal welfare, a holistic evidence-based approach to welfare assessment is required. This should include a combination of institutional-level assessments, individual animal monitoring tools, and applied research targeted at advancing our understanding of species needs and preferences in zoos. Progress has certainly been made in the zoo sector in development of research programs and individual animal welfare monitoring tools. Comparatively less focus has been applied to institutional-level assessment processes. This paper aims to fill this gap and presents an outline of a welfare risk assessment process developed and trialed at three zoos over a three year period and discussion of the potential value it offers, as well as the limitations of its use.