Free paper - tales of feeding animals in zoos & Pride blog with Max Norman

Flying bamboo?

A free paper from the AnimalConcepts team is available open access and you can download it below.

This paper is part of the book Transforming food systems: ethics, innovation and responsibility by Donald and Ann Bruce, and discusses the challenges zoos face to be more environmentally-conscious and make decisions in regard to the sourcing of food for both animals and people. This paper also highlights the efforts undertaken by zoos to mitigate these challenges.


Contemporary zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and other facilities housing animals in human care (hereafter zoos) are concerned with their core values of animal wellbeing, education, and nature conservation. There is a wide variety of species living in zoos worldwide, spanning across many different taxa, which results in an enormous diversity of diets – each bringing its own set of challenges. Meats, fishes, insects, fruits, vegetables, and browse are some, among many, of the necessary components for providing appropriate, species-specific nutrition that meets both the nutritional, behavioural and psychological requirements of animals. Geographical location, as well as season, strongly influences food availability, which in turn influences the quality of diets as well as potential exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, or contamination with feed-sourced pathogens. While some organisations fly fresh bamboo around the world to satisfy the nutritional needs of the giant and red pandas, others can grow different varieties on location; meat can be locally sourced from small, higher welfare farms, or bought in bulk through intensive farming systems consisting of mainly ‘invisible’ animals; fish can be sourced from declining fish stocks through environmental damaging fishing practices, or purchased under the strict guidelines of certified fisheries stewardship arrangements. The enormous quantities of waste and greenhouse gasses produced from the animals as well as how food is produced and transported, negative impacts on freshwater resources, species decline through overfishing, destruction of habitats due to deforestation, and the impact on the wellbeing of individuals used as food for others, animals and people, warrants a closer investigation on how food is sourced for animals in zoos. Some organisations are addressing questions around feeding animals at the zoo through initiatives such as vertical farming, identifying sustainable and more animal welfare-friendly sources, rotating seasonal plots, and selecting which species they will or will not house, based on food availability and other aspects that impact welfare and sustainability. With animal wellbeing, species, and nature conservation at the core of their missions, organisations housing animals must align their practices to reflect care and respect for all animals, peoples, the greater community of life and planetary wellbeing.

You can download the paper HERE

Pride: Gender Identity and the Animal Care Profession

"This month, in celebration of PRIDE and BIAZA Generations of Pride, we are giving space to LGBT+ voices from across the BIAZA membership. The PRIDE blogs will provide a snapshot of the experiences of LGBT+ people working in the zoo sector and highlight diversity across the animal kingdom too" states the BIAZA blog in the interview with Max Norman who works with AnimalConcepts as Animal Welfare and Conservation Coordinator.

"Working now with AnimalConcepts, I have been given amazing opportunities to use my position to create and contribute to resources on diversity, equality, and inclusion while working with people who are understanding and supportive of who I am. I am grateful that I have been allowed endless opportunities to be my authentic self, and that I am always safe to be true to myself while working in support of human and animal wellbeing over the globe," said Max in their interview with BIAZA.

AnimalConcepts is dedicated to creating a more diverse, equal, equitable, and inclusive world for all. "We are delighted that Max is supporting AnimalConcepts as we continue to evolve and expand how we can be not only an ally in the workplace but throughout all our connections. Together we will continue to support our team members, collaborators, community and beyond for a more just, sustainable and peaceful world," says Sabrina Brando, founder of AnimalConcepts.

We see organisations and businesses as powerful tools for change, and AnimalConcepts is dedicated to creating a more diverse, equal, and inclusive world for all. Our purpose is wellbeing for everyone, and when we say everyone, we mean everyone. Creating an inclusive culture is not just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. Diverse, multicultural perspectives make us and our lives better. Through our global activities, commitments, and partnerships we aim to reflect the communities we serve so everyone feels empowered to achieve excellence in animal care, conservation, and human wellbeing.

You can read the full blog HERE

AnimalConcepts is a corporate member of BIAZA. Learn more about BIAZA HERE


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