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UFAW International Symposium

crowd of chickensAnimal populations – World Resources and Animal Welfare

UFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium
14-15th July 2015,
Zagreb, Croatia


In July 2015, UFAW welcomed delegates from 28 different countries to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, to attend a two day symposium on the theme of ‘Animal Populations- World Resources and Animal Welfare’. The meeting featured talks and posters from scientists and ethicists from around the world.

Humans and their kept animals (farm and companion) comprise the larger part of the world's vertebrate biomass. The world’s resources are limited, and as humans use more of these, fewer resources are available for wild and other animals. Whether we like it or not, we humans now control or greatly influence the population sizes of many, and perhaps all, other vertebrate species, and decisions that we make to keep more of some species e.g., domestic, and farm animals have implications on the numbers and welfare of animals of other species that the world can support.

How do we apportion resources between kept and wild animals? How do we balance the welfare interests of one species against that of another? Modern veterinary science enables us to keep a high proportion of animals alive to old age (when we wish it), but these occupy niches that would otherwise have been filled by young replacements: but is fewer long-lived animals better than more short-lived ones? Little effort seems to have been made to address how such balances should be struck. This meeting was therefore an attempt to address how to decide how many of which animals we want and how to achieve that most humanely.

The symposium was opened by Professor David Fraser, University of British Columbia and UFAW outstanding contribution to animal welfare science medal winner 2014, who talked on the subject of ‘Cars, cats, climate change and other neglected problems of animal welfare.’ In a wide-ranging talk that reflected Professor Fraser’s extensive knowledge and experience, he discussed the concepts of animal welfare and conservation, often regarded as being opposites in that the former focuses on the individual and the later the species, and sought to bring them together in a unified ethical model. This was grounded on the principle that the ‘the same human activities driving the current extinction crisis are also causing suffering, fear, physical injury, psychological trauma, and disease in wild animals’ (P Paquet and C Darimont, 2010 Animal Welfare 19: 177-190). Categorising this interaction into four types of activity: those of keeping animals, actions that cause deliberate harm (eg hunting, fishing, slaughter), those that cause direct, unintended harm (eg vehicles or window strikes by birds) and indirect harm (eg environmental change) he then proposed four principles, ‘rules of thumb’, to guide our dealings with animals. These are: ‘Good lives for animals in our care’, ‘To act with compasssion’, ‘To be mindful of the harms we cause’ and ‘To protect the life-sustaining processes of nature’.

The meeting then went on to consider, amongst a diverse range of issues, those relating to the humane management of wild populations, the establishment of specific evidence based indicators for monitoring and evaluating dog population management interventions and a model for determining the success of interventions in cats, the issue of quantity of life and whether it is better to live long, to live well or not at all, and new approaches for better managing farm livestock production in a sustainable way through adoption of a multi-layered silvo-pastoral system which promotes the use of trees and shrubs as forage in addition to normal pasture. These and the other talks and posters stimulated much discussion and debate.

We would like to thank all those who are contributing to the meeting, as speakers, poster presenters and chairs, the delegates who made the discussion after each presentation so thought provoking and Dr James Kirkwood, who proposed the topic of this meeting. We would also like to thank Dr Mario Ostović of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zagreb who co-organised the meeting and ensured that it ran so smoothly.


The following speakers have already been confirmed:

  • Professor Donald Broom (University of Cambridge, UK) ‘New directions for sustainable animal production systems and the role of animal welfare’
  • Professor David Fraser (University of British Columbia, Canada) ‘Cars, cats, climate change and other neglected problems of animal welfare’
  • Professor David Macdonald (University of Oxford, UK) ‘Animal welfare: From rough trade to compassionate conservation’
  • Professor Frauke Ohl (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands) ‘Considering animal welfare: Does context matter?’

Biographies of each can be found here.

Other speakers that have been invited to contribute a talk are:

  • Baker SE (University of Oxford, UK) ‘Minimising welfare impacts in wildlife management’
  • Bonacic C, A Muñoz, E Beltrami and J Laker (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile) ‘Feral animals and multiple species management: animal welfare implications’
  • Carberry HJ (Aberystwyth University, UK) ‘Badgers, cattle, and bovine tuberculosis: an animal health problem?’
  • Flockhart DTT and JB Coe (University of Guelph, Canada) ‘Responsible and cost-effective solutions to address the urban cat overpopulation crisis’
  • Gibson TJ, S Van Winden, RJ Quy, CT Eason, MS Lambert and NG Gregory (Royal Veterinary College and AHVLA, UK; Lincoln University, New Zealand) ‘The development of humane rodenticides for rats and Grey squirrels’
  • Gilchrist JS (Edinburgh Napier University, UK) ‘Stress physiology of game animal capture and cull: Welfare and productivity for the wildlife industry’
  • Hammond-Seaman A and M Vucinic (RSPCA, UK and University of Belgrade, Serbia) ‘Establishing specific indicators for monitoring and evaluating dog population management interventions in the Balkan countries’
  • Herdoíza Castro N, FLB Meijboom and F Ohl (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) ‘Wildlife welfare management: A conceptual, legal and ethical challenge’
  • Jenkinson S (Access and Countryside Management, UK) ‘Doing more with less: land-use planning and community-based interventions to promote the human health benefits of companion dogs and minimise adverse impacts on the environment, wildlife and farm livestock’
  • Josephs JAE and EA McBride (University of Southampton, UK) ‘Mini livestock: The role of edible insects in welfare friendly farming’
  • Jung J (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden) ‘Indirect effects of wild carnivores on livestock – examples from Sweden, Brazil and Kenya’
  • Leus K and KM Schad (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, The Netherlands; Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark) ‘Controlling population growth while ensuring welfare and future reproductive potential in cooperative breeding programmes in zoos and aquaria’
  • Mikuš T, S Barnard, M Ostovic and Z Pavicic (Croatian Veterinary Institute and University of Zagreb, Croatia; Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise, Italy) ‘Management of Croatian shelters and dog mortality’
  • Nyendwa S (Mwamfumba Animal Welfare, Zambia) ‘Farmed livestock population management- how many is enough?’
  • Olsson IAS, M Magalhães-Sant’Ana and NH Franco (IBMC and Escola Universitária Vasco da Gama, Portugal; University College Dublin, Ireland)‘Quantity of life: living long, well or not at all?’
  • Part CE, P Edwards, S Hajat, WG Hutchinson and LM Collins (Queen’s University Belfast, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Lincoln, UK) ‘The future of farm animal welfare in a changing climate’
  • Ramp D (University of Technology Sydney, Australia) ‘Learning to share space with wild animals’
  • Sandøe P, TJ Kasperbauer and B Holst (University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark) ‘Does culling improve the welfare of zoo animals?’
  • Sharma A (CSK H.P Agricultural University, India) ‘Street dog population control in the North Western Himalayas of India: Current scenario and future strategies’
  • Stevenson PJ (Compassion in World Farming, UK) ‘Industrial livestock production: the twin myths of efficiency and necessity’
  • Talling JC and D Cowan (Animal and Plant Health Agency, UK) ‘A model to facilitate decision making in wildlife management, incorporating welfare costs, effectiveness and population dynamics’
  • Tomlinson AJ, A Rayner, D Cowan, KE Littin and R Layton (Food Animal Initiative  and APHA, UK; Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand) ‘Considering animal welfare in a whole-farm approach to wildlife management for sustainable food production’
  • Tribe A (University of Queensland, Australia) ‘Humane management of kangaroo populations in south-east Queensland’
  • Tuner DC (IEMT, -Switzerland) ‘Outdoor domestic cats and wildlife’
  • Vucinic M, A Hammond-Seaman and K Radisavljevic (University of Belgrade, Serbia and RSPCA, UK) ‘Major deficiencies in stray dog population control strategies in Serbian municipalities’

Download a copy of the full Abstract booklet

Contributors to this meeting have been invited to submit their papers for consideration for publication in UFAW’s peer-reviewed journal Animal Welfare.


Some delegates may find that a visa is required to travel to Croatia.
Click here for further guidance

Venue and accommodation

The Symposium is being held at the Hotel Dubrovnik (****) in the capital city of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb. Located on Ban Jelacic Square, in the centre of Zagreb, nearby attractions include the Cathedral, the picturesque old Upper Town and the largest open-air market in the city Dolac. The hotel is also surrounded by many restaurants and bars.

Details on how to get to the Hotel Dubrovnik, and its location, can be found here. Click here for a map.

Rooms have been reserved for use by symposium delegates at the Hotel Dubrovnik. There are a range room types that can be booked, including standard, double and deluxe, starting from 630 kuna a night (including breakfast). These need to be booked separately using this form.

Please be aware that these rooms are only being held for use by delegates until 1st March after which they will be released for use by anyone wishing to stay at the hotel.

Zagreb has many other hotels and hostels nearby, with rooms at prices to suit a range of budgets. These include, but are not limited to:

For further details of these and others, please visit their websites. Further hotels and accommodation in Zagreb, and reviews, can be found on sites like eg Trip advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotels-g294454-Zagreb-Hotels.html

Drinks reception

A drinks reception is being held on the evening of the 14th July at Restaurant Kaptolska klet, a short walk from the symposium venue and facing the cathedral, starting from 7.30pm.



Zagreb is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Croatia. Located at the top of the Balkans, and with a coastline that borders the Adriatic, Croatia has historically been influenced by a mix of western and eastern cultures, including the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian. Croatia became independent from the larger federal state of Yugoslavia in 1991, when it fought a four year war of independence. Croatia became a member of the European Union in 2013 but has yet to adopt the Euro, using the kuna instead.

Zagreb is located in the north-east of the country, with the Sava River to its south and the Medvednica Mountain to its north. Enjoying a mostly Mediterranean climate, during July, average temperatures are around 28oC (82oF). The oldest part of the city, the Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Kaptol, can be found on the hill to the north of Ban Jelacic Square. Easily reached via a short 5-10 minute walk from the Hotel Dubrovnik, the venue for the symposium, or by a funicular on nearby Tomiceva Street, this historic area is comprised of a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary can be found here, as can the largest open-air market in the city, Dolac.

Zagreb has a good range of public transport – with an extensive tram system servicing the centre of the city and the main railway and central bus stations, and buses the outer districts. Ticket prices in one direction range from 10 to 15 kuna, whilst a daily ticket costs 40 kuna, and it is also possible to buy tickets for multiple days. Pleso Airport, Zagreb’s international airport, is located 17km to the southeast of the city, and connected via a regular Croatian Airlines ‘Pleso prijevoz’ shuttle bus service which runs to the central bus station and takes half an hour (cost 30 kuna). A Number 6 tram can then be taken, heading in the direction of Crnomerec, to Ban Jelacic Square in the centre of Zagreb, a journey time of approximately 10 minutes. A taxi ride from the airport to the Hotel Dubrovnik on Ban Jelacic Square will take around 40 minutes and cost 120 kuna (if arranged through the Hotel).


Further details on getting to Zagreb and the symposium venue, the Hotel Dubrovnik, can be found here.


The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), the international animal welfare science society, is a UK registered scientific and educational charity that brings together the animal welfare science community, educators, veterinarians and all concerned about animal welfare worldwide in order to achieve advances in the well-being of farm, companion, laboratory and captive wild animals, and for those animals with which we interact in the wild. UFAW works to improve animals’ lives by:

  • Promoting and supporting developments in the science and technology that underpin advances in animal welfare.
  • Promoting and supporting education in animal care and welfare.
  • Providing information, organising symposia, conferences and meetings, and publishing books, videos, technical reports and the international quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Welfare.
  • Providing expert advice to governments and other bodies and helping to draft and amend laws and guidelines.

UFAW is an independent organisation, and throughout its history its work has primarily been funded by donations, subscriptions and legacies.

LogoLogoAssisting in the organisation of this meeting is Dr Mario Ostovic of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1919 and is part of the oldest and biggest university in South-Eastern Europe, the University of Zagreb which was founded in 1669.

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), UFAW’s sister charity, is holding a symposium at the Hotel Dubrovnik on the 16-17th July 2015, see www.hsa.org.uk for further details.