Advancing animal welfare science: How do we get there? – Who is it good for?

03 July 2019 - 04 July 2019

Site Oud Sint-Jan, Bruges 8000, Belgium

Overview:

Animal welfare science advances are needed to inform decisions on the care and legal protection provided for animals. This two day international symposium will explore two major themes:

1) Developments in animal welfare science that are likely to extend our understanding of animals’ needs or how to assess animal welfare or sentience. This symposium will provide an opportunity to present on new and exciting developments in animal welfare science methodologies and new findings that will inform animal welfare care or use.

2) While the primary ethical case for being concerned about animal welfare is the presumption that some animal species have feelings and that those feelings matter to them, benefits to humans are often put forward as reasons for improving animal welfare. Examples include: an improved product for farmed animals, better models for animals used in research or animals more likely to survive and breed successfully if released into the wild for the zoo community. However, it is also the case that animal welfare and human goals and interests are not always linked. 

Aims:

With the above themes in mind, the purpose of this symposium is to:

·         Learn about new and exciting innovations and methodologies in animal welfare research and arising from research into sentience in animals.

·         Explore and test the extent of the idea that human and animal interests go hand in hand with improved welfare.

·         Investigate areas of animal use where there are particular challenges to improving animal welfare.

·         Identify new methodologies, approaches and technologies to improve animal welfare that have or could be used to address these challenges.

By considering whether and how animal welfare science can be used to make progress in these and other areas, our aim for the symposium is to develop and raise awareness of new ideas and to promote higher quality and better-focused animal welfare science.

The symposium will include both talks and poster presentations, and will feature keynote presentations addressing the following concerns:

·        Professor Linda Keeling (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden) Advances in technology to monitor animal welfare on the farm

·         Dr Joseph Garner (Stanford University, USA) Good science, good welfare. How understanding animals used in research helps us

·        Dr Hans van de Vis (Wageningen Livestock Research, The Netherlands) Challenges associated with assessing and improving the welfare of farmed fish

The meeting will be of interest to the growing international community concerned with animal welfare and to those working on biomedical research, food animal production, slaughter and companion animal rehabilitation, captive wild animals, conservation and policy makers.