Setting the Bar in Animal Welfare with the WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal

Posted: 25 October 2023

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) through the WAZA Ethics and Animal Welfare, Membership, and Associations Committees has concluded the first set of reviews of its member national and regional associations’ Animal Welfare Evaluation Processes towards the fulfilment of the WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal.

The WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal, aims towards confirming that the Animal Welfare Evaluation Processes used by the WAZA member national and regional associations include specific principles of animal welfare, and thus, to see these principles consistently across WAZA’s global membership. By working towards this strategic Goal, WAZA has taken a significant step towards positioning itself as the global leader advancing Animal Welfare in zoos and aquariums. 

The WAZA members associations that have met the goal in 2023 are the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia (ZAA), the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), the Latin American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (ALPZA), the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).
WAZA CEO, Martín Zordan said, “The 2023 Animal Welfare Goal is a tremendous achievement. I am pleased that six member associations (ZAA, PAAZA, EAZA, ALPZA, AZA and CAZA) have already met this Goal and I am confident that other member associations will follow in the coming months. This Goal is in keeping with WAZA’s vision to be a globally recognised and trusted leader advancing conservation and animal welfare.”


The journey towards this landmark achievement began in 2015 with the World Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Strategy, which highlighted the importance of making welfare-based accreditation a priority. In 2016, representatives from WAZA-member national and regional associations met in Singapore to discuss a pathway to implement this within the WAZA community; and in 2019 another meeting was held in Barcelona, which ironed out additional details on this goal for WAZA and moved one step further into the implementation of a global Goal to establish a global benchmark for regional and national animal welfare evaluation processes. 

Dr Alejandro Grajal, Chair of the WAZA Ethics and Animal Welfare Committee said, ‘I am extremely proud of this achievement not only by the member associations that have achieved this goal, but also of the extraordinary work of the Committee and the support of the WAZA Council. Our vision is to make WAZA a leader in animal welfare and conservation and this is a step in that direction.’

WAZA looks forward to supporting member associations in making progress towards the WAZA 2023 Animal Welfare Goal, and celebrates the progress we see towards achieving it. 

Going forward, meeting this Goal will be a prerequisite of WAZA membership. 


The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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