Animal Welfare Committee
Providing for good animal welfare encompasses both ethical and scientific responsibilities. AZA-accredited institutions have an ethical responsibility to ensure the well-being of the animals in their care. In addition, AZA-accredited institutions have a scientific responsibility to gain a greater understanding of the well-being of the animals in their care by advancing animal welfare science.
Animal Welfare Committee's Definition of Animal Welfare
Animal Welfare refers to an animal’s collective physical, mental, and emotional states over a period of time, and is measured on a continuum from good to poor.
Explanation: An animal typically experiences good welfare when healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to develop and express species-typical relationships, behaviors, and cognitive abilities, and not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, or distress. Because physical, mental, and emotional states may be dependent on one another and can vary from day to day, it is important to consider these states in combination with one another over time to provide an assessment of an animal’s overall welfare status.
Animal Welfare Committee's Mission Statement
The AZA Animal Welfare committee promotes good welfare for animals in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, by assisting member institutions in identifying and applying best practices in animal welfare and through promoting advances in animal welfare science.
The Animal Welfare Committee will achieve its mission by:
- Promoting a common understanding of animal welfare in the zoo and aquarium community.Assisting zoos and aquariums in identifying and applying best practices in animal welfare.
- Encouraging the development of research projects and assessment tools to advance and monitor animal welfare.
- Educating and engaging AZA zoos and aquariums in applying assessment tools.
- Understanding and influencing public perception about animal welfare in AZA zoos and aquariums.
Nadja Wielebnowski, Oregon Zoo
Chris Kuhar, Ph.D., Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Cynthia Bennett, Detroit Zoo
Kathy Carlstead, Ph.D., Honolulu Zoo
Linda Criss, Akron Zoo
Greg Geise, Binder Park Zoo, President Emeritus
Liz Harmon, Kansas City Zoo
Beth Stark Posta, Toledo Zoo
David Powell, Bronx Zoo
Gary Priest, San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park
Suzi Rapp, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Stephen Ross, Lincoln Park Zoo
David Shepherdson, Ph.D., Oregon Zoo
Julie Scardina, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens
Andy Snider, Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo
Karen Terio, D.V.M., University of Illinois
Douglas Whiteside, D.V.M., Calgary Zoo
Megan Wilson, Ph.D., Zoo Atlanta
Joseph Barber, Barber Consulting
Erika Bauer, Smithsonian National Zoo
Scott Carter, Detroit Zoo
Jill Mellen, Ph.D., Disney's Animal Kingdom
Lance Miller, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Global
Donald Moore III, Ph.D., Smithsonian National Zoo
Amanda Ista, Milwaukee County Zoo, AAZK
Robert Peel, Calgary Zoo
Lori Perkins, Zoo Atlanta
Ken Reininger, North Carolina Zoo
Sharon Dewar, Lincoln Park Zoo
Jim Breheny, Bronx Zoo / WCS
AZA Staff Liaisons:
Debborah Luke, Ph.D., Paul Boyle, Ph.D., Candice Dorsey, Ph.D.