Animal welfare is defined
as ‘the state of an animal
as it attempts to cope with
its environment’ .
 Fraser, D., and Broom, D.B. 1990. Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon.
Whereas conservation focuses on cetaceans at a population level, welfare is focused on the needs and health of the individual animal. There are many factors affecting the welfare of cetaceans in their natural environment, some are natural, however many are due to human activities such as bycatch and entanglement, pollution (chemical, plastic, noise), overfishing and ship strikes.
Cetaceans are highly evolved, intelligent and sentient beings, and we regard their welfare with high importance. Thought to be among the most intelligent animals on the planet, they exist in highly organised and culturally diverse societies, and are capable of experiencing a range of sensations and emotions. Historically, human influence on cetaceans and cetacean populations has not been kind. Only now, are we beginning to understand the impacts of our activities, and the importance of implementing modern policy initiatives to improve cetacean welfare. More information on cetacean welfare can be found in our Cetacean Welfare Policy document
Humane Euthanasia of Cetaceans for Veterinary Practitioners
In a live stranding where the animal(s) are not suitable candidates for refloating, it is important to have a vet with the skills necessary to identify if they should be euthanized and the various options available to vets and how to carry them out safely. This course was funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Increased presence of marine debris from anthropogenic (human) sources has become a widespread problem throughout the world’s oceans and poses a serious threat to marine wildlife & cetaceans alike.