The Animal Welfare Collaborative launched

4 December 2019

A national university led collaborative focussed on improving animal welfare, was officially launched, by The University of Queensland’s Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research (DVC-R) Professor Bronwyn Harch, in Brisbane today.

The Animal Welfare Collaborative (TAWC) is powered by the tireless efforts of researchers from The University of Queensland, The University of Newcastle, The University of Western Australia and The University of Adelaide.

The Collaborative is also supported with input from Australian livestock industries, transporters and processors, working dog organisations, zoos and aquariums, veterinarians, state and federal governments, community groups, animal rights organisations and universities - all of which are focussed on improving the welfare of animals.

"Funding and advancing the objectives of the Collaborative to achieve significant societal change, is just another way our researchers are improving the lives of animals," Professor Harch said.

UQ Professor Alan Tilbrook said the strength of the Collaborative is that it is led by Australian universities and thus provides non-partisan independence, credibility, and scientific rigour, allowing us to lead initiatives with a clear focus on the animals.

Prior to the launch, around 100 people gathered for an Animal Welfare Horizons forum to discuss how Australia should address animal welfare as a nation, and specifically ways in which enrichment for animals can be implemented in Australia over short, medium and long term horizons. 

Forum presentations included:

  • Why animal welfare will define Australia - Professor Donald Broom, The University of Cambridge.
  • Animal welfare in Australia: past & future - Andrew Spencer, Managing Director, Ancer Consulting and Chair, Australian Farm Institute
  • Good, clean, fair - the future of Australian food - Dr Noelene McBride, Dr Ian McBride Slow Food Brisbane
  • The chef's dilemma - Simon Bryant, Dirt(y) Inc and Simon Toohey, MasterChef Contestant
  • Human effects on their animals (negative and positive) - Professor Paul Hemsworth, The University of Melbourne.
  • Building enriched environments - Kerrie Haynes-Lovell, Delta Society.
  • Promoting positive experiences in animal welfare - Nicolas de Graaff, Zoo and Aquarium Association.
  • Friends with benefits - Dr Mia Cobb, Animal Welfare Science Centre and Working Dog Alliance

Animal Welfare Horizons forum held at Customs House in Brisbane on 4 December 2019.

The Animal Welfare Collaborative has four key goals:

  • Encouraging all of society to contribute their ideas on how to improve animal welfare
  • Facilitating an inclusive, constructive, evidence-based discussion about animal welfare
  • Promoting best practices in animal welfare
  • Translating and enhancing a science-based approach to animal welfare

Other organisations interested in participating or learning more about the Animal Welfare Collaborative are encouraged to contact coordinators via the website 

Research contact: Dr Jill N. Fernandes, Researcher Animal Science, UQ Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, M. 0498 019 840 T. +61 7 3346 2170 E.

The Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) is a research institute of The University of Queensland (UQ), supported by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.