Ep37 John Webster on animal sentience, why veterinarians need animal welfare science, & The Cordelia Principle

2021 ibuzz podcast Apr 03, 2021

John Webster is Professor Emeritus and former Head of the Veterinary School at Bristol University. He studied veterinary science as he wanted to help animals. He is also a founding member of the Farm Animal Welfare Council and first propounded the ‘Five Freedoms’ as a standard for defining the elements of good welfare in domestic animals.

John highlights the importance of animal welfare science for veterinarians and talks about the insights of the animals. He discusses how "sentient animals do not live only in the present” and how having emotions matters in addition to understanding the duty we have of looking at animals' minds.

Sabrina and John discuss the constant endeavour to act according to what is right, not simply that which is regulated, and what we perceive to be the right decision for the animals.

John explains to us the ethics and politics of animal welfare, and our moral duty to minimize any distress that comes from our actions while giving them a life...

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Press release: A more diverse, equal and inclusive (DEI) world: Goodbye to discounts and more!

Media contact: Sabrina Brando
Founder and director
[email protected]


Press release


A more diverse, equal and inclusive (DEI) world: Goodbye to discounts and more!

AnimalConcepts is dedicated to creating a more diverse, equal and inclusive (DEI) world for all and 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.

In line with our commitment to embodying and practising DEI we have said goodbye to bonuses and discounts e.g., ‘Become a member for 12 months - get 2 months off’, flash sales, early birds, and other...

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Press release: AnimalConcepts supporting the Association of Minority Zoo & Aquarium Professionals

2021 amzap dei Mar 31, 2021

Media contact: Sabrina Brando
Founder and director
[email protected]


Press Release 


AnimalConcepts supporting the Association of Minority Zoo & Aquarium Professionals

AnimalConcepts is delighted to announce a new collaboration! From now on we are supporting the Association of Minority Zoo & Aquarium Professionals (AMZAP) in its mission of increasing minority representation throughout the zoo industry. Through networking, outreach, mentoring and professional development resources, AMZAP builds relationships amongst minorities.

AMZAP is a network of professionals working with exotic animal husbandry, research, and conservation. The association focuses on developing a sense of community amongst minorities working in the zoo industry and promoting animal care and conservation careers as viable options.

AMZAP was officially created in 2020 however the concept of an organized group to support the minority zoo...

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Swimmingly forward: Fish welfare, pain and intelligence

By Holly Molinaro & Sabrina Brando

Usually, we release one Science into Practice (SiP) resource every week. For this month, we have a little bonus for you. Two SiPs in one week! You can access all materials via the PAWS platform, not a member yet? Become one HERE or sign up for more blogs like this via our newsletter!

This week, both SiPs are about fish welfare, pain and intelligence.

One of the reasons for this is that we would like to discuss and cover a wide variety of topics and stances, including the ones we do not necessarily adhere to. We should make all efforts to not fall into the trap of excluding information just because it does not fit our worldview, philosophy, or opinion, but rather discuss openly and put forward our ideas, thoughts and feelings, bringing in all the science and other perspectives available to have a deeper conversation.

(1) Rose (2007), Anthropomorphism and ‘mental welfare’ of fishes


(2) Sneddon (2019), Evolution of...

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Ep36 Daniel Mills on looking at individual animals, solving behaviour problems, and studying animal emotions

2021 ibuzz podcast Mar 27, 2021

Daniel Mills is a professor at the University of Lincoln in the UK. He currently consults at the University Animal Behaviour Clinic. In 2020 he was recognized by Stanford University as part of the top 2% of all scientists globally.

Daniel dives into his research world of problem behaviour, and his studies to understand individual differences in animals that reflect emotions. He remarks that animals are often not using human mechanisms to solve problems, rather they do it their own way and we have to understand that in order to assess animals’ emotions more systematically. 

He tells the story of how he started in the field of animal behaviour and talks about his career as a veterinarian while being involved in different research with dogs and horses. His greatest piece of advice to get there is to ask questions, explore and be curious. Daniel and Sabrina discuss what it means to be scientific or have a scientific attitude. He also shares how information can come from lots...

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Ep35 Mike Mendl on animal emotions, welfare and cognition

2021 ibuzz podcast Mar 20, 2021

Dr Mendl is a professor of animal behaviour and welfare at the Bristol Veterinary School, University of Bristol. His research focuses on cognition, emotion, development, individuality and social behaviour in domestic animals. 

Mike starts by introducing his background and giving some alternative options to start in the research field of animal behaviour and welfare aside from doing a PhD, postdoc, or fellowship. He then dives into the background of how he is working together with his collaborators studying emotions, welfare and cognition in animals. He presents the methods used to understand what animals are experiencing, and cognitive bias as an indicator of animal emotion and welfare.

Mike talks about his multiple research studies with different species of domestic animals, rats, and even bees, and the challenges of knowing whether emotion and affective states are consciously experienced in other species. Mike shares his results of a study of lateralized behaviour as an...

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Ep34 Gerry Creighton on elephants learning from elephants, research, and a dynamic approach to elephant care and wellbeing

2021 ibuzz podcast Mar 13, 2021

Gerry Creighton did not want to be anywhere else than at the zoo, working with and caring for animals, rising through the ranks to Zoo Operations Manager for animals and grounds in 2009. He worked at the Dublin Zoo, also together with his dad, for over 36 years. 

Gerry shares how he worked as a trainee keeper, before becoming a full-time zookeeper and Team Leader responsible for large apes, carnivores and elephants for nearly ten years before becoming Zoo Operations Manager for animals and grounds in 2009. 

Gerry shares details of the gorilla and mangabey habitat, will giant trees and natural vegetation, allowing the animals to browse as the seasons unfold. About the importance of natural substrates and activities that animals can engage in.

Gerry’s career has spanned several decades of exciting development, during which time Dublin Zoo has transformed from its Victorian beginnings in 1831 into a modern, vital and progressive European centre for conservation,...

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Ep33 Ron Kagan on pheromones, zoos as sanctuaries and exotic animal welfare and ethics

2021 ibuzz podcast Mar 06, 2021

Ron Kagan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) in the USA. 

Ron starts talking about his start in the zoo field and how he ended up in his current position and suggests for people starting out in the field to seek both academic studies and practical experience.

Ron shares with us a little about his first studies on pheromones in animal communication and thermoregulation in mammals.

He discusses the program he helped create at Michigan State University for people who want to go into the profession.  It was the first Bachelor of Science degree offered in Applied Zoo Science anywhere. 

Ron dives into the DZS’s Center for Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare and Ethics. Here, the current body of knowledge on animal welfare and ethics is freely accessible on-line for all zoo professionals. The center also engages in non-invasive research, convenes symposiums of experts, holds welfare workshops and recognizes advances in animal welfare and...

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Ep32 Joanne Thomas on the 5 Domains in strategy, animals as teachers guiding care, and punching above your weight for all to flourish

2021 ibuzz podcast Feb 28, 2021

Joanne Thomas is the Animal Care Manager at Wellington Zoo Trust (WZT) in New Zealand. Joanne shares her background, and big passion and love that is animal welfare. 

She started volunteering in a wide variety of places around the world to gain experience, working with a wide variety of species for over 30 years. 

For Joanne, the key is always being open and prepared to learn, and how animals are our teachers too.

Joanne talks about all her experience from agriculture and farming, to sanctuaries and zoos around the world. Despite all the challenging aspects of working in sanctuaries, she highlights that sometimes having a hard job, is a rewarding job.

Joanne shares how she ended up in the position of Animal Care Manager, and how much she loves the WZT values, with their passion and commitment to always ‘Punch above your weight every day. She dives into the philosophy of animal care and welfare at WZT, including looking after everything and everyone in the...

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Ep31 Monica Battini on assessing positive welfare in ruminants and promising indicators in the Five Domains

2021 ibuzz podcast Feb 20, 2021

Dr. Monica Battini is a Research Fellow at the Department of Agricultural and
Environmental Sciences in Milan, Italy, where she also received her PhD in animal welfare.

Monica shares experiences about her previous work researching welfare quality and welfare assessment protocols for different farming species, animal emotions, and communication among others. She dives into two European projects: Welfare Quality® (WQ) and Animal Welfare Indicators (AWIN).

In WQ, protocols for cattle, pigs and poultry (broiler and hens) were developed and I collected data for the development of the protocol for dairy cows.  In AWIN, protocols were developed for small ruminants, equids and turkeys and she co-authored the protocol for goats.

Her advice to become an animal welfare scientist is to be curious, strong, and keep to achieving goals during the journey.

Monica talks about the importance of considering good welfare for farm animals, looking at positive indicators and the Five Domains...

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