The 24/7 approach to promoting optimal welfare for captive wild animals



Brando S & Buchanan-Smith HM (2018) The 24/7 approach to promoting optimal welfare for captive wild animals. Behavioural Processes, 156, pp. 83-95.

We have an ethical responsibility to provide captive animals with environments that allow them to experience good welfare. Husbandry activities are often scheduled for the convenience of care staff working within the constraints of the facility, rather than considering the biological and psychological requirements of the animals themselves. The animal welfare 24/7 across the lifespan concept provides a holistic framework to map features of the animal’s life cycle, taking into account their natural history, in relation to variations in the captive environment, across day and night, weekdays, weekends, and seasons. In order for animals to have the opportunity to thrive, we argue the need to consider their lifetime experience, integrated into the environments we provide, and with their perspective in mind. Here, we propose a welfare assessment tool based upon 14 criteria, to allow care staff to determine if their animals’ welfare needs are met. We conclude that animal habitat management will be enhanced with the use of integrated technologies that provide the animals with more opportunities to engineer their own environments, providing them with complexity, choice and control.

Animal welfare; Birth to death; Habitat management; Technology; Zoo; 24/7 across lifespan

Behavioural Processes: Volume 156

Publication date30/11/2018
Publication date online04/11/2017
Date accepted by journal15/09/2017

People (2)


Ms Sabrina Brando

Ms Sabrina Brando

PhD Researcher, Psychology

Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor Hannah Buchanan-Smith

Professor, Psychology