Health, Husbandry, and Welfare

« Back to Animal Care and Management


Health, Husbandry, and Welfare

The superior health, husbandry, and welfare of the animals cared for in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is paramount. Rigorous preventative medical care directly relates to excellent animal health and the prevention or early detection of illness, while expert husbandry practices are directly associated with the advanced level of animal welfare maintained in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. Information, protocols, and tools have been developed to enhance animal health, husbandry, and welfare and serve to facilitate exceptional animal care practices.

Animal Health

Preventative medical assessments, including daily observations and data recording, routine weight monitoring, full physical examinations including blood and fecal testing, dental examinations, diet supplementation and vaccinations ensure that the health of the animals cared for in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums is of the highest quality. These assessments facilitate the early detection and treatment of illnesses and zoonotic diseases by well trained animal keepers and wildlife veterinarians.

The AZA Animal Health Committee, Veterinary and Biomaterials Scientific Advisory Groups, and Animal Programs play integral roles in advancing the field of animal health. A variety of reference materials and tools including an antivenom index as well as standards and procedures for bioterrorism preparedness infectious diseases, and quarantine have been developed to meet this objective. Read more about Animal Health.

Animal Husbandry & Welfare

Animal husbandry practices ensure that the physiological, biological, psychological, and social needs of the animals cared for in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are addressed. 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.

 The AZA Animal Welfare and Animal Health Committees, Veterinary, Nutrition, Endocrinology and Behavior Scientific Advisory Groups, and Animal Programs work cooperatively to further advance the fields of animal husbandry and welfare. Information about animal nutrition, reproduction, behavior, and enrichment information and reference materials such as Animal Care and Husbandry Manuals were developed to meet this goal. Read more about Animal Husbandry and Welfare