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.

Lance Miller, Ph.D., CZS / Brookfield Zoo

Beth Stark Posta, Toledo Zoo 

Bonnie Baird, Woodland Park Zoo
Scott Barton, Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Katherine Cronin, Lincoln Park Zoo
Louis DiVincenti, Seneca Park Zoo
Jesse Gilbert, Texas State Aquarium
Betsy Herrelko, Smithsonian National Zoo
Sharon Joseph, Denver Zoo
Robert Lessnau, Cincinnati Zoo
Colleen McCann, Wildlife Conservation Society
Vikki McCloskey, Steinhart Aquarium
Allen McDowell, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
Jim Nemet, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Hendrik Nollens, D.V.M., Ph.D., SeaWorld
Malia Somerville, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Wouter Stellaard, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Scott Terrell, Disney's Animal Kingdom, The Seas
Ric Urban, Mississippi Aquarium
Greg Vicino, San Diego Zoo
Nadja Wielebnowski, Ph.D., Oregon Zoo

Cheri Asa, Ph.D., Chair, RMC Advisory Board
Erika Bauer, Ph.D., Smithsonian National Zoo
Linda Criss, Akron Zoo
Sara Hallager, Smithsonian National Zoo
Amanda Ista, Milwaukee County Zoo, AAZK
Jill Mellen Ph.D.
Donald Moore III, Ph.D., Oregon Zoo
David Powell, Ph.D., Bronx Zoo
Gary Priest, San Diego Zoo Global
Suzi Rapp, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
David Shepherdson, Ph.D., Oregon Zoo 
Greg Tarry, CAZA

PR Liaison
Ellen Averill, Tulsa Zoo

Board Liaison
Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville

AZA Staff Liaison
Candice Dorsey, Ph.D.

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