Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare

The Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare was prepared on the basis of the 1999 Code of Ethics and the 2002 Code of Animal Welfare. It was adopted at the 58th Annual Conference of WAZA on 19 November 2003 in San José (Costa Rica).



  • Assisting in achieving the conservation and survival of species must be the aim of all members of the profession. Any actions taken in relation to an individual animal, e.g. euthanasia or contraception, must be undertaken
    with this higher ideal of species survival in mind, but the welfare of the
    individual animal should not be compromised.
  • Promote the interests of wildlife conservation, biodiversity and animal
    welfare to colleagues and to society at large.
  • Co-operate with the wider conservation community including wildlife agencies, conservation organisations and research institutions to assist in maintaining global biodiversity.
  • Co-operate with governments and other appropriate bodies to improve
    standards of animal welfare and ensure the welfare of all animals in our
  • Encourage research and dissemination of achievements and results in
    appropriate publications and forums.
  • Deal fairly with members in the dissemination of professional information
    and advice.
  • Promote public education programmes and cultural recreational activities of zoos and aquariums.
  • Work progressively towards achieving all professional guidelines
    established by the WAZA.


Please click on the below link to download the Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare in one of the three languages available (70 KB each):