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Exploring The Future Of Pets In New Zealand: Conference To Tackle Big Questions Of Changing Attitudes

Companion Animals New Zealand (CANZ) is thrilled to be hosting its upcoming March conference, “Companion Animals in a Changing World”, set to address critical issues impacting companion animals and bring together passionate advocates for animal welfare.

Among the topics covered in the conference hosted by the national charity will be the ever-evolving discourse on cat management, environmental challenges and the economic impact on pet owners.

The conference, which takes place 12-13 March, will bring together international speakers and leading animal experts such as vets, scientists, SPCA, shelters and other animal welfare organisations from around the country.

Professor Nat Waran from CANZ, says New Zealanders might be considered a pet-loving nation (with more than two thirds of households being home to one or more companion animals), but changing societal values are driving questions concerning the role and acceptability of pets-keeping, and impacting how we care for our animals.

"This is the perfect time to consider how, in a rapidly changing world, we can maintain our commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of our pets” says Professor Waran.

“There has been a lot of debate relating to the management of cats, for example. This is only going to increase. As are conversations about dog management, and where they can exercise freely or be present in our community – as there is a need for more parks and spaces for dogs to exercise off-leash. From a risk perspective, we hear about many dogs found to be roaming which is of concern. Expectations are changing and responsible pet ownership is understandably under the spotlight.

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“Adding to this, how are we considering our pet’s impact on the environment? And how are we learning from last year’s weather in relation to emergency preparedness? Ultimately, we are wanting to address the question of how we ensure animals in our homes are experiencing a good life now and into the future.”

The timely conference follows the anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle which had disastrous consequences for so many animals. It also comes after a year of coverage around companion animal overpopulation across the country, as shelters struggle being inundated with unwanted animals, as well as heightened calls for a national legislation involving mandating the desexing and microchipping of companion cats.

CANZ, the custodian of New Zealand's pet microchip database (NZCAR), is uniquely placed to host this vital conversation, as it regularly works with a diverse range of animal welfare groups across the country. The conference will build on CANZ’s recently launched initiative – ‘A Good life for Animals’ Centre – a collaborative effort to fill knowledge gaps and elevate animal welfare standards across the country.

“Even people with the best intentions might not have the knowledge needed to be confident that their pet’s wellbeing is optimised,” continues Professor Waran. “A ‘Good Life’ means maximizing positive experiences and emotions, and minimising negative ones. I’m honoured to be directing this new Centre, helping define what a ‘Good Life’ for companion animals is within the New Zealand context.”

Tickets are still available for the March Conference and the conference is open to all who want to learn about the latest research and best practice.

More information:

· “Companion Animals in A Changing World” Conference information https://www.companionanimals.nz/conference 

· A Good Life web page: https://www.companionanimals.nz/a-good-life-for-companion-animals

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