Branch AGM and lecture: Do animals experience happiness and why does it matter?

Thursday 14 June

Lecture Theatre 2, EIT, Taradale

5.30pm: AGM Hawke’s Bay Branch, Royal Society Te Apārangi

6.00pm: Do animals experience happiness and why does it matter?

Professor Nat Waran, Executive Dean – Faculty of Education, Humanities and Health Science, EIT

Until recently, animal welfare assessment relied on measures of physical health, and changes in behaviour and physiology related to negative emotional states such as pain and stress. However, it is now widely accepted that good welfare is not simply the absence of disease or negative experiences, but also the presence of positive experiences such as pleasure. Understanding what good welfare is, how welfare can be assessed across a range of environments and uses, and what needs to be done to achieve higher welfare, is considered to be a key priority for ensuring the welfare of animals in their interactions with humans.

Before joining EIT, Nat led a number of strategic projects in her most recent role as a professor and inaugural director of the new International Centre for Animal Welfare Education at the University of Edinburgh, one of the UK’s leading universities. From 2006 to 2011, she was Associate Dean (Research) at Unitec’s Faculty of Social and Health Sciences in tandem with her role as Head of the School of Natural Sciences.

Nat has a first class zoology degree from Glasgow University and a PhD from Cambridge University, and has worked in many different countries including China, India and Malaysia.