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Animal welfare, human wellbeing and planetary health

Applying a One Welfare framework to companion animal feeding
Join us for a discussion of how the choices we make when we feed our animal companions affects other animals, the environment and even our own wellbeing.

Event details
Date and time:
 Wednesday 28 August, 2 – 4pm
Venue: Veterinary Science Conference Centre (Webster Lecture Theatre 208)
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential

This special Sydney Ideas event celebrates the 9th Annual Robert Dixon Memorial Animal Welfare Symposium and will explore a series of critical questions. What are the consequences for the animals, owners and environment of feeding different foods, including processed foods and synthetic meats? And what are the consequences for the animals, owners and environment of feeding high-energy diets?

Recent research has shown that the energy required to produce food for pet cats and dogs is responsible for releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. In the United States, cats and dogs consume about 19 percent of the amount of dietary energy that humans do. If our companion animals eat other animals that are carrying infectious diseases, there is also a risk that they can transmit zoonotic diseases to us.

There’s a bigger picture that’s articulated in the One Welfare framework, which recognises the fascinating connections between animal welfare, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing.

We will bring together a pet-food manufacturer, veterinary practitioner and holistic diet advocate, zoo nutritionist and nutritional ecologist to discuss the ethical treatment of invasive and native fauna. The conversation will be chaired by the RSPCA's Chief science and strategy officer.

This event is presented in collaboration with the Centre for Veterinary Education, in memory of the late Dr Robert Dixon. For many years, Robert held the faculty position of Associate Dean for Animal Welfare while serving on the University's Animal Ethics Committee.

The speakers

Michelle joined Taronga Conservation Society Australia in December 2013, and has over 20 years experience in zoo nutrition. 

As Australia’s first and only Zoo Nutritionist, Michelle manages Taronga’s Animal Nutrition Centre, directs Nutrition research, oversees the nutrition of all animals at both of Taronga’s Zoos and consults for zoos, rescue organisations and conservation programs internationally.  

David joined the University in April 2013 as Leonard P Ullmann Chair in Nutritional Ecology. David is a leading expert in nutritional ecology: the discipline that studies how nutrition-related aspects of an animal's environment interact with its biology to determine health and fitness outcomes. His approach is comparative, using ecological and evolutionary diversity to understand these interactions. His studies of insects, fish, birds and a variety of mammals have helped develop a new approach to human nutrition-related problems, such as the dietary causes of obesity.

Roger was appointed as the inaugural President of the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) in November 2014 and served in that capacity for 2 years, retiring as required by GAPFA's constitution. During GAPFA's formative years Roger has inspired this global group and its work streams to achieve consensus on a number of pet food safety, nutrition and trade facilitation issues. Application has been made to partner with the world animal health organisation OIE and approaches made to harmonise global standards.

Andrea graduated from the University of Bristol Veterinary School, UK in 2000. She then remained at Bristol Vet School as FAB Lecturer in Feline Medicine until 2011 after which she moved to Sydney where she ran the feline medicine service at Small Animal Specialist Hospital until 2015. Andrea has lectured widely internationally and contributed to numerous textbooks. She has wide interests in all aspects of feline medicine, and is passionate about both providing the best care for her patients, and helping to support other veterinarians to do the same. 

Anne is a lecturer in Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. Here research interests include all aspects of companion animal practice, in particular general practice, veterinary ethics, companion animal husbandry, the well-being of veterinary team members, evidence-based medicine and interactions between humans and non-human animals in and outside of veterinary clinical contexts.

Bidda is an Honorary Associate with the Sydney School of Veterinary Science. Her research interests focus on improving the welfare of animals in Australian society, from companion animals, animals in sport, native and introduced wild animals, to humane killing and slaughter. Bidda is a regular panellist at the Robert Dixon Memorial Symposia and is co-developing an introductory OLE unit on understanding animal welfare. She has published over 35 reports, book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and has represented animal welfare interests on numerous national committees and as an invited speaker at multiple conferences, workshops and symposia.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the 'Register now' button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 15 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides wheelchair access, hearing loop and infrared hearing system.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email sydney.ideas@sydney.edu.au with 'Access | August 28 – Animal welfare' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

This event takes place at VSCC Lecture Theatre 208 (Webster), which is on Level 2 of the Veterinary Science Conference Centre. The street address is Regimental Drive but you enter via Ross Street and Parramatta Road entrance to the University.

There will be directional signage on the day leading to the theatre. You may also refer to the map on this page. 

Public Transport

To help you plan your trip, visit transportnsw.info

Buses to the University are readily available from Railway Square, Central Station (Broadway). Please use the campus maps tool and tick the ‘State transit bus stops’ box under the ‘Amenities’ column to view all possible bus stops.

The closest bus stop is the University of Sydney Ross Street Gate, Parramatta Road (Opposite Glebe Officeworks). It is a five-minute walk to the venue. Use the University Campus Map tool to locate the bus stop. You can take the bus from Central Station (routes 412, 413, 436, 438, 440, 461, 480).

The venue is roughly 30 minutes walk from Redfern Station. 

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Veterinary Science Conference Centre'. 

Event image credit: by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

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