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For Immediate Release: 05/30/13

International Animal Welfare and Zoo Expert Chris Draper to Speak at Chicago Zoological Society Symposium

Senior Scientific Researcher from U.K. Born Free Foundation to give insight June 5 on animal welfare and conservation objectives in zoos

Washington, D.C. -- The Chicago Zoological Society's Center for the Science of Animal Welfare will host its 2nd International Symposium on Zoo Animal Welfare on June 5 and 6, 2013 at the Brookfield Zoo. Leading welfare researchers, including the Born Free Foundation/Born Free USA's Senior Scientific Researcher Chris Draper, will discuss future directions for zoo animal welfare science. Draper, from the Born Free Foundation headquarters in the U.K., will be speaking on the topic of "Animal welfare and conservation objectives in zoos: conflicts and synergies."

According to Draper, "As zoos around the world adopt, and promote, a conservation agenda, it is tempting to assume that conservation and animal welfare objectives are complementary. However, situations of conflict can arise between these aims and require consideration in order to guide policy and practice. I will present evidence from zoos in the UK based on formal Government inspections that shows an association between assessment of better animal welfare and conservation delivery. The implications of this include the possibility that improvements in animal welfare standards in zoos may lead to greater participation and improvements in the delivery of conservation. Nonetheless, there may be situations where the welfare of certain threatened species may be less compatible with keeping in zoos, or where certain zoos are less able to deliver adequate animal welfare under a conservation paradigm."

Draper is an integral part of Born Free's Zoo Check program, which takes action to stop captive animal suffering in zoos, and promote improvements to and compliance with animal welfare legislation. Born Free believes that even the ‘best' zoos cannot truly recreate the complex environment that most species encounter in the wild, or simulate all the stimuli which keep the animal active.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA in Washington D.C., "Throughout the world – and very much so here in the U.S. -- millions of animals are kept captive for entertainment purposes.  Whether in zoos, circuses, or marine parks, wild animals suffer physically and mentally from the lack of freedom that captivity imposes.  Born Free believes such confinement and exploitation should be a thing of the past. Our Chris Draper will certainly have an informed, significant perspective at the upcoming symposium in IL."   

Chris Draper is a zoologist and chartered biologist, and since 2004 has worked for the Born Free Foundation on their Zoo Check program investigating the welfare of wild animals in captivity. He is also the European Coordinator for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation" -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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