2013 - James Yeates

2013 - James Yeates

Public lectures

How happy does a happy animal have to be (and how can we tell)?

James Yeates, Chief Veterinary Officer, RSPCA UK, and Honorary Lecturer, University of Bristol

The keynote speaker at the 2013 RSPCA Australia Scientific Seminar was Dr James Yeates.

To take advantage of his visit, RSPCA Australia, in collaboration with the Centre for Animal Welfare & Ethics, University of Queensland, Animal Welfare Science Centre and the University of Melbourne organised a public lecture at UQ's Gatton Campus and at the University of Melbourne at which James Yeates further elaborated on the topic of promoting positive welfare states in animals.

The lecture was aimed at challenging current thinking on the concept of animal welfare assessment:

  • Animal welfare research has mainly focused on the “negative” side of animal welfare, ensuring animals can “cope” and avoid unpleasant states such as pain and frustration.
  • Recent years have seen the beginning of a wider conceptualisation of animal welfare, to include “positive” states, including a greater focus on subjective experiences and an appreciation of pleasant experiences. Future assessment of animal welfare may consider states that are achieved “beyond coping”. Enjoyment, euphoria and satisfaction, self-fulfilment and autonomy, achievement and fulfilment, and considerations of a “good life” are just some examples.
  • Such concepts allow us to move forward from a situation where we are merely neutralising negative states to one where we are promoting positive welfare states in animals.

Miss the public lecture series? Click here to listen to the Melbourne lecture.

Previous public lectures

2012 Peter Sandøe - Animal welfare & ethics: Where does science end and ethics begin?