CZAAWE Resource Article

An Animal Welfare Risk Assessment Process for Zoos
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
There is a growing interest and need for zoos to develop and implement welfare assessment tools that are practical to use and provide meaningful results that can inform management decisions. This paper presents a process that was developed to support this type of evidence-based management in zoo animal welfare. The process is configured to facilitate institutional risk assessment, using an adapted version of the Five Domains Model for animal welfare assessment. It is designed to systematically analyse information gathered from zoo personnel in order to highlight areas of welfare risk, as well as areas that are performing well and areas requiring further investigation. A trial was conducted on three zoos over three years. Results of the trial suggest the process developed is practical and effective in identifying areas of welfare risk in a wide range of species in a zoo setting. It represents a further step towards achieving high-level animal welfare in zoos by integrating animal welfare as an institutional priority. The more zoos that employ such strategies, the greater the ability of the sector to advance the welfare of the animals in their care.