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Who are ZAA?

  • Tuesday 13th August 2019

As a peak body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association represents the collective voice of the zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards.

"We have a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare. Using the Five Domains model, ZAA grants accreditation to zoos and aquariums that have clearly demonstrated their commitment to positive welfare. This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective and it underpins all that we do."

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium recognised for progressive animal welfare practices! 

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium has been recognised for its commitment to positive animal welfare as part of a world-leading accreditation program that assesses welfare in zoos and aquariums.

The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) today announced SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium successfully achieved the accreditation under its Accreditation 2020 Program, which includes onsite assessment.

“With the latest iteration, this is the most ambitious program for promoting positive animal welfare of any zoos, aquariums or sanctuaries in the world,” said Nicola Craddock, ZAA Executive Director.

The program has a progressive, science-based approach to animal welfare and has been designed using the Five Domains model, developed by leading animal welfare scientist Professor David Mellor, the Foundation Director of the Animal Welfare and Bioethics Centre (Massey University).

“It requires the animal care professionals to use their unique knowledge of both the species and the individuals to assess how that particular animal is affected by its situation,” said Ms Craddock.

“This approach champions welfare from the animal’s perspective.”

Conventional animal welfare models focus on avoiding negative conditions, such as freedom from distress or hunger. The more recent Five Domains model applied by ZAA, can be used to assess not only for negative experiences, but also for positive ones. It raises the bar, requiring members to develop understanding and practices that go beyond the scope of legislative requirements.

The Five Domains include nutrition, environment, health, behaviour and mental state. The Accreditation 2020 program assesses an animal’s welfare on a range of criteria under each of these Domains to ensure a holistic and thorough assessment has been made of each assessed specimen.

As a peak body, the Zoo and Aquarium Association represents collective the voice of the zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards.

Every member of the Association must be accredited, and, over the next three years, all members will be assessed under the new iteration of the program.

People planning to visit zoos and aquariums in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea should visit www.zooaquarium.org.au for a list of accredited organisations.