NZCAC 2018 Conference - Human Behaviour Change for Animals

The New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC) is proud to be hosting the 27th Companion Animal Conference in Auckland from 17th to 19th September 2018.

The theme of the conference is ‘Human Behaviour Change for Animals’ (HBCA). Everyone working to improve the welfare of animals understands that human behaviour towards animals impacts on welfare and is the root cause of much animal suffering. However, changing human behaviour is not as simple as telling or showing people that animals suffer. To effect meaningful change in people’s behaviour, we need to understand the attitudes and beliefs that motivate people to behave as they do, and then find the best ways to encourage and support them to make changes that improve welfare outcomes for animals.

Barry Helem, NZCAC Chair says “It is critical that we find ways to motivate our communities to change attitudes and behaviours. To effect sustainable cultural change to improve welfare outcomes, we need to go further than traditional methods of educating. What we are looking for are deeper ways of connecting with our communities so they value and appreciate the sentience of animals in our care.”

The first international conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare was held in the UK in September 2016. The 2018 Companion Animal Conference will be the inaugural Australasian conference exploring the HBCA theme.

The NZCAC looks forward to welcoming five keynote speakers from New Zealand and abroad: Associate Professor Ngaio Beausoleil (Massey University), Debbie Busby (Clinical Animal Behaviourist, UK), Dr Sara Dubois (BC, Canada SPCA), Professor Peter Thornber (Commonwealth Veterinary Association and Queensland University), and Dr Lynette McLeod (University of New England, Australia).

NZCAC Vice Chair, Bill Kohi says “The NZCAC is extremely excited and humbled by the calibre of keynote speakers presenting at the Conference. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise from around the world, which will be well received by the delegates attending the conference.”

The NZCAC is pleased to advise that the conference fits into the continuing veterinary education (CVE) category of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), with 1 hour of attendance equalling 1 CPD point for vets. The New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association (NZVNA) is also accrediting CPD points for this conference with a total of 11.5 CPD points possible, depending on attendance.

According to Bill Kohi, “Providing the mechanism to acknowledge delegates learning from the content of our conference has been a welcome development. This is the first conference that the NZVA and NZVNA have acknowledged professional development of their members who attend. This is a vote of confidence for the organisers and confirms that the subject matter is relevant and valuable.”

The NZCAC is excited to be able to provide an opportunity for interested individuals to network, share experiences, and learn from leading national and international experts in animal welfare and Human Behaviour Change as part of our vision to create “a nation that values, respects and responsibly cares for companion animals.”

The 2018 Companion Animal Conference is being delivered in collaboration with SPCA New Zealand, Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) and is supported by Human Behaviour Change for Animals (HBCA).

The full conference programme is available to view on the conference website. Please register online and follow the NZCAC Facebook page for more information.