Animal Welfare in Zoos
ARIES was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foresty to develop a training module for the zoo and aquarium industry in the new Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines (AAWSG): Exhibited Animals which have developed from the new overarching principles of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. The Standards cover staff, security and enclosures, dietary and water requirements, reproduction processes, transportation, capture and release, identification and record keeping, and euthanasia.
The training course is an initiative of Martin Phillips, Executive Director of the Zoo and Aquarium Association, who wanted to ensure that zoo keepers understand the standards that have been written for the animals in their care. Zoos and aquaria not only provide recreational activities but also play a key role in education, conservation and research, which all require positive animal welfare practices. Members of the Association receive more than 17 million visitors each year and educate over 600,000 students.
The training covers:
- an understanding of the social, moral and legal obligations and requirements
- an understanding of the implications of the AAWSG on their strategic, managerial and operational responsibilities
- techniques to ensure appropriate monitoring, self-regulation and reporting of the standards to relevant government bodies, stakeholders and the wider community
- direction on how participating organisations can ensure compliance with these national standards and guidelines.
The online course was completed in 2015 and is awaiting changes in legislation before being delivered.
See the Standards in action at Taronga Zoo