Conference Overview

The Companion Animal Conference provides an opportunity to network, share your experience and learn from leading national and international experts in Animal Welfare and Human Behaviour Change.

Don’t miss your chance to be inspired by fascinating talks in the vibrant and multicultural City of Sails, Auckland, New Zealand.


Please note that some of the programme content may be subject to change.

Click here to download the 2018 Conference Brochure (PDF - 550 KB).

Day 1 - Monday 17 September
8:30am – 10:00am Registration
10:00am – 10:15am Pōwhiri (Te whānau o te Rautoetoe – Papatoetoe High School)
Welcome (NZCAC Chair – Barry Helem)
Morning Session Theme: Human Behaviour Change – Making Animal Welfare Relevant
Chair: Jessica Walker

10:15am – 11:00am

Keynote speaker: Debbie Busby – Human Behaviour Change for Animals
Improving Animal Welfare: The Human Element
11:00am – 11:20am Morning Tea

11:20am – 12:10pm

Professor Natalie Waran – Eastern Institute of Technology
One Welfare: Making Animal Welfare Relevant

12:10pm – 12:30pm

Paula Neuman – British Columbia SPCA
Teaching Children to Incite Behaviour Change in the Greater Community

12:30pm – 1:20pm

Keynote speaker: Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil – Massey University
The Role of Scientists in Human Behaviour Change for Animals: NZ Case Studies
1:20pm – 2:00pm Lunch
Afternoon Session Theme: Human Behaviour Change – Culture and Values
Chair: Amy Ross

2:00pm – 2:45pm

Keynote speaker: Professor Peter Thornber – Commonwealth Veterinary Association
Culture and Socioeconomics Impacting Human Behaviour – The Current Case of Working Horses and Donkeys

2:45pm – 3:00pm

Dr Rachel Forrest, Emma Steiner, Sarah Thomson, Maria Pearson, Levi Armstrong and Professor Natalie Waran – Eastern Institute of Technology
Furry Whānau Wellbeing: Working with Local Communities for Positive Pet Welfare Outcomes

3:00pm – 3:20pm

Dr Jen Jamieson – Ministry for Primary Industries
Using Education to Influence Human Behaviour Change to Improve Farm Animal Welfare

3:20pm – 4:05pm

Afternoon Tea and Poster Session

Stephanie Bruce – Unitec Institute of Technology
Companion Cat Management: An Insight into the Predation and Risk Behaviours of Auckland Cats via the Use of Camera and GPS Technologies

Emma Steiner*, Sarah Thomson*, Maria Pearson*, Dr Rachel Forrest*, Professor Natalie Waran* and Levi Armstrong** – Eastern Institute of Technology* and PATU Aotearoa**
PATU Pets – The Furry Whānau

Laureline Guinnefollau, Dr Liz Norman, Associate Professor Chris Rogers, Dr Erica Gee and Dr Charlotte Bolwell – Massey University
Does the Background of Veterinary Students Influence Equine Handling Skills and Knowledge of Horse Behaviour?

Peter Dormon – Stray New Zealand Trust
Human Behaviour Change – For Animals
Human Behaviour ChangeCulture and Values
Chair: Margaret Carter

4:05pm – 4:50pm

Keynote speaker: Dr Sara Dubois – British Columbia SPCA
Take Your Values on Vacation: Animal Welfare and Tourism

4:50pm – 5:25pm

Panel Discussion + Q&A (Human Behaviour Change for Animals): Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil, Debbie Busby, Dr Sara Dubois, Dr Lynette McLeod and Professor Peter Thornber.
Chair: Dr Arnja Dale
5:25pm – 5:30pm Close of Day 1 – Dr Arnja Dale
6:30pm Pre-Dinner Mingle @ Bar


Conference Dinner and Assisi Awards
Pre-dinner Speaker: Professor Natalie Waran


Day 2 - Tuesday 18 September
9:00am – 9:05am Day 2 welcome (NZCAC Chair – Barry Helem)
Morning Session Theme: Human Behaviour Change – Improving Animal Welfare
Chair: Victoria Hamilton

9:05am – 9:50am

Keynote speaker: Debbie Busby – Human Behaviour Change for Animals
The Human Element: Principles to Practice

9:50am – 10:05am

Katja Isaksen*, Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil*, Associate Professor Nick Cave*, Lori Linney**, Dr Liz Norman*, Helen Williamson** and Dr Naomi Cogger* – Massey University* and Vetlife Timaru**
Factors Influencing Career Duration in Working Farm Dogs: A First Step Towards Making Informed Decisions About Care
10:05am – 10:20am Dr Kristie Cameron, Dr Jessica Walker and Dr Arnja Dale – Unitec Institute of Technology
Do Dog Owners Know Their Dogs? Identifying Preferred Rewards and Positive Behaviour During Social Interactions
10:20am – 10:40am Carmen Glanville – University of Melbourne
The Role of Duty of Care in Companion Dog Care and Management
10:40am – 11:00am Morning Tea
Human Behaviour Change – Improving Animal Welfare
Chair: Peter Dunne

11:00am – 11:45am

Keynote speaker: Professor Peter Thornber – Commonwealth Veterinary Association
The Impact of Government Policy on Human Attitudes and Behaviour – The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy Experience

11:45am – 12:00pm

John Bates*, Huitong Zhou**, Dr Rachel Forrest*** and Professor Jon Hickford** – JBT Consulting*, Lincoln University** and Eastern Institute of Technology***
DNA Technologies for Improving Animal Welfare: Eradication of Dermatosparaxis
12:00pm – 12:20pm Dr Jessica Moore-Jones – RSPCA Darwin
Human Psychology to Improve Animal Sheltering
12:20pm – 1:00pm Lunch
Afternoon Session Theme: Human Behaviour Change – Cat Management
Chair: Zena Pigden

1:00pm – 1:45pm

Keynote speaker: Dr Lynette McLeod – University of New England
Designing Effective Behaviour Change Interventions for Cat Management: A Practical Guide

1:45pm – 2:15pm

Dr Bidda Jones* **, Dr Di Evans*, Dr Bronwyn Orr* ** and Lynette McLeod*** – RSPCA Australia*, The University of Sydney** and University of New England***
Easier Said Than Done: Implementing Best Practice Domestic Cat Management in Australia
2:15pm – 2:30pm Dr Jane Newman – redzonecats
Practical Methods for Identification of Lost Cats with Reclusive Behaviours

2:30pm – 2:45pm

Kat Littlewood, Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil, Professor Kevin Stafford and Professor Christine Stephens – Massey University
The Influence of Feline Behavioural Changes on Euthanasia Decision-Making
2:45pm – 3:00pm Afternoon Tea
Human Behaviour ChangeAnimal Welfare Services
Chair: Nat Waran

3:00pm – 3:45pm

Keynote speaker: Dr Sara Dubois – British Columbia SPCA
AnimalKind Accredited: Defining Humane in the Animal-Services Marketplace
3:45pm – 4:15pm Open forum and questions to all speakers
Conference feedback forms
4:15pm – 4:30pm Wrap up and conference close (NZCAC Chair – Barry Helem)


Day 3 - Wednesday 19 September: Workshop (Please note this is an invited workshop)
9:00am – 9:15am Welcome to workshop session
Facilitators: Professor Natalie Waran, Dr Arnja Dale and Dr Jessica Walker
9:15am – 10:30am Workshop session: Meta-analysis of the Main Animal Welfare Concerns in New Zealand – Discussion
10:30am – 10:45am Morning Tea
10:45am – 12:15pm Workshop session continued: Meta-analysis of the Main Animal Welfare Concerns in New ZealandOutcomes
12:15pm – 1:00pm Lunch



For the first time in over 25 years, the Companion Animal Conference will have a contestable abstract stream. Abstract submissions have now closed.

Abstracts will be published in the full conference programme, which will be available on this website one week before the conference.

Conference Workshop

On Day 3 of the conference (19 September), a half-day workshop will be held for invited delegates identified as representing the animal welfare industry. Utilising the key principles of human behaviour change explored during the conference, the workshop will analyse the five animal welfare issues and barriers to improvement most commonly identified by conference delegates. We will discuss the scientific and practical challenges of effecting human behavioural change in relation to these five animal welfare issues, with the aim of identifying actions that will enable potential solutions to the issues.

To enable this workshop to occur, we will ask all delegates to complete a short survey when registering for the conference and again during Day 2 of the conference. The results of these surveys will be shared with all delegates at the closing of the conference on Day 2. The results of both surveys will inform the discussion at the half-day workshop on Day 3.

When you register, please indicate whether you are interested in participating in the half-day workshop. Numbers are limited and will be by invitation only as we wish to ensure good representation from a range of animal welfare stakeholders.

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