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Samelius, Veronica, 2018. Zoo animal welfare assessment : a review of current research and protocols concerning welfare assessment and feasibility of application in a zoo environment. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Modern zoos work with conservation, education and research which are all affected by the welfare status of the animals. This makes animal welfare assessment in a zoo environment important. The aim of this study was to evaluate the main existing protocols and related research concerning welfare assessment, both for zoo and farm animals, in order to analyse the challenges that exist when working with welfare assessment in a zoo environment. This study was performed by looking at example welfare assessment protocols from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and protocols developed for farm animals by the Welfare Quality® project. Also, related research on the topic was investigated.

Welfare assessment is exercised through different methods, looking at both behavioural and physiological measures. The approach recommended by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the Five Domains model which include both physical domains and a mental domain that represents the subjective feelings and experiences of an animal.

Welfare Quality® uses four welfare principles that each comprise two to four welfare criteria. These criteria are checked using measures that have been developed for specific species. A comparison between the example protocols from EAZA and the Welfare Quality® protocols for farm animals showed that the Welfare Quality® protocols were more covering and that just one zoo example protocol covered all criteria used by Welfare Quality®.

One difficulty when assessing welfare in a zoo environment is the huge amount of species kept in zoos that all need their specific protocols and assessment criteria. Another difficulty is the great individual variation within species due to for example different backgrounds and facilities. Furthermore, it can be hard assessing the welfare of wild animals due to difficulties with behavioural measures and the handling process.

In order to incorporate improvement of zoo animal welfare in an overall welfare assessment of zoo animals, a suggestion of two additions to the welfare criteria of Welfare Quality® was made. The suggested addition to the list of welfare criteria are “Encouraging foraging behaviour through nutritional enrichment” and “Reproductive success”.

To further develop the welfare assessment of zoo animals, an investigation on how different example protocols for zoos work in practice should be made since such an investigation could give information to further develop welfare principles and criteria specific for a zoo environment. Furthermore, collaboration between zoos should be extended. Both between zoos with high level of resources to cooperate in making more species-specific measures and protocols, but also between these zoos and zoos with less resources that might need help with their work concerning welfare assessment.

Main title:Zoo animal welfare assessment
Subtitle:a review of current research and protocols concerning welfare assessment and feasibility of application in a zoo environment
Authors:Samelius, Veronica
Supervisor:Blokhuis, Harry
Examiner:Keeling, Linda
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:751
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:welfare assessment, zoo, assessment protocols, animal welfare, Welfare Quality®
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:27 Sep 2018 11:38
Metadata Last Modified:25 Feb 2019 13:37

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