The Association takes the position that all zoos and aquariums have a responsibility to ensure a high standard of animal welfare for all animals in their care. The activities carried out by member zoo organisations must be underpinned by positive animal welfare.
Australasian zoos and aquariums maintain unique and diverse populations of native and non-native species and the Association recognises that an industry-specific approach to animal welfare is required. The framework established by the Association recognises the importance of animal welfare and provides a model that the zoo industry can apply to support positive animal welfare.
The Association maintains an Accreditation Program to substantiate its members’ animal welfare practices. ZAA Welfare assessment and Accreditation is undertaken on a three-year basis.
Whereas traditional assessments of animal welfare have relied on avoidance of negative states, the ZAA Accreditation has employed a body of knowledge called the Five Domains and actively investigates positive experiences for individual animals.
Additionally, the Association understands that state and local regulatory authorities assess the members’ compliance with relevant regulations, and undertake their obligations for welfare inspections as required. To support this expectation the Association has worked with governments to develop and establish contemporary animal welfare standards and guidelines for exhibited animals.