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Wild Animal Welfare Seminar 30.-31.10.2019

wild animal welfare seminar

Animal welfare can be defined as an animal’s psychological and physical state, which may vary from good to bad. Special attention has been paid to the welfare of farm and companion animals. However, human activities have wide impact on wild animal welfare. What should our responsibility be towards welfare of wild animals, and how to fulfill this responsibility in practice? These issues were brought up in the NordCAW (Nordic network for Communicating Animal Welfare) 2019 seminar Animal welfare for wild animals – conservation, rewilding, research & experimentation, rehabilitation, hunting, and other human activities.

Thanks to our brilliant speakers, panelists and the great audience, the seminar was a success! Here are the latest blog posts about the seminar (also in Finnish), and there’s still more to come. Presentations are viewable on YouTube (playlists for day 1 and day 2).

Blog posts in English

Handling and transportation stressful to reindeer

Wild Animal Welfare Seminar presentations now on Youtube

Blog posts in Finnish

Matkailuporon hyvinvoinnista tärkeää huolehtia

Käsittely ja kuljetus stressaavat teurasporoa

Wild Animal Welfare -seminaarin esitykset nyt YouTubessa

Kommunikaatio, tiede ja suurpetojen suojelu korostuivat EHK:n seminaarissa

Luonnoneläinten hyvinvointi kiinnostaa kansainvälisesti


Seminar and speaker information


Unioninkatu 33, Helsinki, Finland – N.B. The lecture hall is fully booked but the webstream option is still available (see below)

NordCAW and Finnish Centre for Animal Welfare in cooperation with HOH Helsinki One Health

NordCAW Seminar 2019

Contact info:
Satu Raussi, satu.raussi (at) luke.fi, tel. +358 50 4156 570
Tiina Kauppinen, tiina.kauppinen (at) luke.fi, tel. +358 44 3001 295

Follow the seminar by webcast:
Wed 30.10. https://vimeo.com/363774906
Thu 31.10. https://vimeo.com/363775171



Programme 30.10.2019 at 9:00 to 17:30

Webcast: https://vimeo.com/363774906

Opening words Satu Raussi, Finnish Centre for Animal Welfare


1. Eradication of wild animals for zoonotic/epizootic diseases and animal welfare. Welfare of invasive animal species, 9:10-10:30

Chair: Cecilie Mejdell, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, NO


Eradication of wild animals for zoonotic/epizootic diseases and animal welfare. Jørn Våge, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, NO


Culling a wild population for disease control – the Norwegian experience from CWD in reindeer. Jørn Våge, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, NO

Preventing rabies in Latvia-Russia border without killing raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides). Preventing African swine fever by eradication of wild boars (Sus scrofa) – what about the welfare of wild boars? Mārtiņš Seržants, Food and Veterinary Service of Republic of Latvia, LV

Invasive alien species as a vector of diseases and parasites – the role of the raccoon dog in the wildlife community. Kaarina Kauhala, Natural Resources Institute Finland, FI


2. Animal welfare in wildlife research and management. The 3Rs in wildlife research. Interface between wildlife research and wildlife management. Capture, tagging and sampling of animals for management and research, 10:40-12:00

Chair: Tom Bengtsen, Danish Animal Welfare Centre, DK

3Rs in wildlife research and management. Johan Lindsjö, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE

Development of welfare friendly follow-up methods in large carnivores. Ilpo Kojola, Natural Resources Institute Finland, FI

The 3Rs in Saimaa ringed seal studies. Mervi Kunnasranta, Natural Resources Institute Finland, FI

Wildlife Capture & Welfare – risk awareness and prevention of complications. Åsa Fahlman, Swedish Biodiversity Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE


3. Animal welfare aspects of wildlife conservation: captive breeding, rehabilitation and rewilding programs, 13:20-14:20

Chair: David Arney, Estonian University of Life Sciences, EE

Conservation of the European mink (Mustela lutreola) an animal welfare point of view. Lea Tummeleht, Estonian University of Life Sciences, EE

Animal welfare and the management of large herbivores in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve. J.J.M. (Jacques) van Alphen, University of Amsterdam, NL

Welfare aspects of captive breeding and reintroduction programs. Lotta Berg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE


4. Hunting and animal welfare, 14:30-15:30

Chair: Liene Ansone, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Latvia, LV

Ethical aspects of hunting. Erica von Essen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE

Trapping and animal welfare – Behavioral assessment of trapped wild animals – Testing new traps for wildlife. Ulrika Alm Bergvall, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE

Training of dogs on wild animals in enclosures. Elina Åsbjer, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE


16:00-17:30 Panel on wild animal welfare ethical issues

Panel experts including Erica von Essen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE; Mikko Alhainen, The Finnish Wildlife Agency, FI & Heli Siitari, Finnish Hunters’ Association, FI; Chairman, Tiina Kauppinen, Finnish Centre for Animal Welfare, FI.

Programme 31.10.2019 at 9:00 to 13:00

Webcast: https://vimeo.com/363775171


1. Welfare of semi-domesticated captive animals, 9:00-10:00

Chair: Margareta Stéen, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE

Reindeer welfare during transport and slaughter: Norway and Sweden. Cecilie Mejdell, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, NO & Lotta Berg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE

Welfare of reindeers used for tourism in Finnish Lapland. Mikko Äijälä, University of Lapland, FI

Myanmar timber elephant welfare. Mirkka Lahdenperä, University of Turku, FI


2. The impact of climate change on wild animal welfare, 10:10-12:00

Chair: Ida Tingman Møller, Danish Animal Welfare Centre, DK

Human-wildlife conflict. Potential implications of a changing climate on human-polar bear conflict in Eastern Greenland and increases in human-elephant conflict in the greater Mara ecosystem in Kenya due to land-use changes. Stephen DeVincent, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, USA

Climate change contributes to the spread of insect-transmitted filarioid nematodes, a threat to arctic cervids. Sauli Laaksonen, University of Helsinki, FI

Welfare aspects of birds’ adaptation to climate change. Animal welfare on bird migration studies. Aleksi Lehikoinen, Helsinki Lab of Ornithology, Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki, FI

Closing words and announcing the 2020 NordCAW seminar. Viveka Hillegaart, Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, SE


Supplementary program in Finnish

31.10.2019 at 14:00 to 16:00

Verkkolähetys: https://vimeo.com/363775171

Paneelikeskustelu: Kansalainen luonnonvaraisen eläimen hyvinvointia edistämässä

Panel discussion (in Finnish): How citizens can enhance wild animal welfare?

Miten petojen kanssa tullaan toimeen? Pitääkö turistin huomioida luonnonvaraisten eläinten hyvinvointi? Entä ruokinta, pönttötalkoot hyönteishotellit – mitä kansalainen voi tehdä luonnonvaraisten eläinten hyvinvoinnin edistämiseksi?

  • Uusi eläinten hyvinvointilaki ja kansalaisten mahdollisuudet edistää luonnonvaraisten eläinten hyvinvointia. Tiina Pullola, eläinlääkintöylitarkastaja, maa- ja metsätalousministeriö
  • Suurpedot ja yhteiskunta: Kohti yhdessä olevaa suojelua. Anja Nygren, professori, Helsingin yliopisto
  • Tuppukylän turisti kohteessa! Turistin mahdollisuudet edistää luonnonvaraisten eläinten hyvinvointia. Mikko Äijälä, väitöskirjatutkija, Lapin yliopisto


Ulrika Alm Bergvall is an associate professor (Docent) in Ethology with a PhD from Stockholm University (SU) from 2007. Her work has mainly focused on different deer species, foraging and personality. She spent her VR financed postdoc at the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and after that she spent some years at Grimsö Wildlife research station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and in a FORMAS funded project at SU about moose foraging and pine protection. Currently she is affiliated to SLU Grimsö and works as a coordinator for the Swedish Environmental protection Agency with testing new traps for wildlife.

Jacques van Alphen is professor emeritus of ecology. He is a member of the Council of Animal Affairs, that advises the Minister of Nature, Agriculture and Food Quality in The Netherlands on issues in the field of Animal Welfare and Health. This mostly concerns kept animals, but also wild animals. He served on the ICMO2 Committee in 2009 to advise the minister on the Managent of large herbivores in the Oostvaardersplassen.

Lotta Berg is a veterinarian by training, and currently employed as Professor (faculty chair) in Animal Environment and Health at the department of Animal Environment and Health at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Skara, Sweden. Her research is mainly focused on farm animal welfare including health, behaviour and management aspects and preventive herd health for dairy and beef cattle, poultry, pigs, lamb and reindeer. Animal handling and equipment improvement, plus training of staff, in relation to animal welfare during transport and at slaughterhouses and on-farm killing, including emergency slaughter and depopulation for disease control purposes are other topics involved. Although she mainly focuses on farm animals, she is also involved in research related to companion and laboratory animal welfare, and wildlife. Animal welfare legislation, private animal welfare standards and official animal welfare control aspects also covered. She is teaching animal husbandry and animal welfare, including crisis preparedness and management, to veterinary students, animal science students and animal welfare inspector students and is part-time affiliated to the Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare (SCAW). As for wildlife, her interest was initially mainly related to wildlife in research situations, usually involving trapping or catching of wildlife, taking samples from them or keeping them in captivity for short periods of time before releasing them again. This has later been widened to cover also animal welfare aspects of various interventions in wildlife habitats, translocation, reintroduction and captive breeding programmes for various wildlife species including birds.

Stephen deVincent is a veterinarian and a master of arts in history and in law and diplomacy. He has studied in UK and USA and worked as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) science and technology fellow, a contractor to the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, and an advisor and a chair of the Karen Blixen Camp Trust. At the moment, he is a Faculty Fellow within the Center for Animals and Public Policy at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, USA.

Erica von Essen is a human-animal studies researcher working with changing interspecies relations in modernity and their practical manifestations in leisure, tourism, wildlife management and society at large. What is it that drives people to want to take slothselfies on holiday, go bow-hunting in Kazakhstan, and hate some animals and love others with identical charactistics? She is employed as an associate professor with the Division of Environmental Communication at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, having done her PhD on illegal hunting of large carnivores. Her principal research project looks at how new influences in hunting – new types of hunters, new game species, advanced technology and commodification – impact animal welfare and hunting ethics. Her research topics also involve a critical look at the way we govern invasive, feral, and out-of-place species and problem animals; the role of social movements for and against animal rights, animal-based tourism and the ‘embodied turn’ of experiencing wildlife, and the anthropology of hunting. One locus of inquiry in recent years has been the wild boar, which brings together several of her research tracts. She is teaching master’s programmes on Sustainable Development and Environmental Communication and supervising PhD students. She likes to work closely with the Swedish Hunting Associations in her research and is interested increasingly in EU-level wildlife issues.

Åsa Fahlman is a wildlife veterinarian with a special interest in wild animal health, capture, handling, animal welfare, and conservation medicine. She is an Associate Professor (Docent) in Wildlife Medicine at the Swedish Biodiversity Centre at SLU, where she coordinates an interdisciplinary One Health research project on emerging zoonoses in Asian wildlife and people. She is also the Veterinary Advisor for WWF-Sweden providing support for Sumatran rhino capture and conservation in Indonesia and Asian elephants in Myanmar. Since she started working with wild animals 30 years ago, she has been involved in research and conservation projects for free-ranging wildlife in Scandinavia, Asia, Africa and North America. Her PhD thesis (2008) focused on improving wildlife capture and anesthesia. She also supports capacity building through in-field training and workshops across disciplines to advance wild animal welfare and support biodiversity conservation.

Kaarina Kauhala works as a researcher in Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She wrote her PhD thesis on the ecological characteristics of raccoon dogs (1992, University of Helsinki). She is also a docent of game animal biology in the University of Helsinki and a member of IUCN Canid Specialist Group. Since 1986 she has studied several aspects of raccoon dog ecology, including its role as a vector of diseases and parasites, especially rabies. She has also studied ecology of other medium-sized carnivores, mountain hare, beavers and Baltic seals, as well as urban ecology.

Mervi Kunnasranta is a wild life biologist, best known for her work on conservation biology of the Saimaa ringed seal, but she has also studied other vertebrate species from both aquatic and terrestrial environments. In addition to scientific publications, she has written books, popular articles and scripts for nature documentary films. She completed her PhD in the University of Joensuu, Finland, and postdoctoral studies in the University of Alaska Southeast, USA. Currently she is the leader of the Ringed seal project of the University of Eastern Finland and works also as Senior Scientist with game animal  population monitoring issues in Natural Resources Institute Finland. Her talk in the seminar demonstrates how animal welfare issues are taken into account in research and conservation actions of the endemic Saimaa ringed seal population.

Sauli Laaksonen is a veterinary surgeon specialized in game animal and reindeer health care. He also holds a docentship in cervid diseases in University of Helsinki, Finland. Sauli Laaksonen is an internationally recognized scholar and lecturer, and the creator of Finnish hunters’ hygiene training. His research on the field of insect transmitted Filarioid neamatodes in the Arctic, have been ground breaking. Laaksonen has practiced veterinary medicine for over 30 years, including work in game and reindeer meat inspections and the hygiene control of primary production and food industry facilities. The health and welfare of livestock, domestic and wild animals alike is close to his heart. He is an experienced hunter and breeder of Karelian bear dogs.

Mirkka Lahdenperä is an evolutionary ecologist at Department of Biology, University of Turku. Her work has been mainly concentrating on evolution of menopause and long lifespan in historical humans and Asian elephants. Recently, she has also investigated conservation related topics in Asian elephants and the effects of wild-capture on Myanmar timber elephant life-history. Her talk in seminar concentrates on this topic and specifically the short- and long-term effects of capture on survival and reproduction in endangered Asian elephants.

Aleksi Lehikoinen works as a curator in the Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki. He coordinates Finnish common bird monitoring schemes and leads his research group the Helsinki Lab of Ornithology. He did his PhD (2009, University of Helsinki) about how weather and food availability influence breeding and migration of birds. His main study topics are how environmental changes, such as climate change and habitat change, are impacting populations using national and international large-scale long-term bird data set. One of the main consequences of the climate change is that animal species are shifting their distributions towards poles and mountain tops due to moving climatic zones. In his talk in the seminar he will explain how fast these changes are and how do they affect individuals at different parts of their range.

Johan Lindsjö is a veterinarian and qualified officer at the Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare, working with different aspects of animal welfare, including wild animals, and a course leader for veterinary students at the Department for Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Currently, he is doing a residency in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. Johan is a Swedish specialist in diseases of dogs and cats and did a M.Sc. project with grizzly bear health in Canada. He has been involved in several  international veterinary volunteer projects, working with domestic, captive and wild animals. In his presentation at the seminar, he will focus on the ​3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) in wildlife research and management.

Cecilie Mejdell is a veterinarian and senior researcher at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. She has specialised in animal welfare (European specialist/diplomate in animal welfare science, ethics and law) and is engaged in welfare research in many different species. In the seminar, together with professor Lotta Berg from the Swedish Agricultural University, she will address welfare challenges in Scandinavian reindeer herding, including at slaughter.

Anja Nygren is Professor of Development Studies and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Policy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is currently leading a research project, focusing on human-wolf relationships in Finland, as part of the wider Consortium Research Project, “Towards Convivial Conservation”, funded by the EU-Belmont Forum/Norface, and led by Prof. Bram Büscher and Prof. Robert Fletcher, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Lea Tummeleht is sharing her occupation between the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences at the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the Species Conservation Laboratory at the Tallinn Zoological Gardens. Her true passion lies in research based animal training, environmental enrichment and using those skills for supporting captive wild animal welfare as well as teaching enthusiastic human learners. She is consulting and teaching animal keepers in husbandry training, management and environmental enrichment, writing monthly environmental enrichment plans, organizing and teaching seminars and practical workshops regarding to positive reinforcement training, behaviour management and environmental enrichment topics. She has edited and co-authored the first Animal Welfare textbook (2018) for high-schools in Estonian that is free for everyone. In the seminar in Helsinki she will introduce how positive reinforcement based training can be involved into conservation breeding practices. Endangered European minks (Mustela lutreola) at the Tallinn zoo provide an excellent model system for testing for any kind of questions about captive animal welfare.

Jørn Våge works as researcher in wildlife health at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo. He is the Institutes coordinator and project leader for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Våge is a veterinarian (DVM), holds a PhD in molecular genetics and a BSc in biology. Apart from CWD research, wildlife health issues in general and tasks of contingency work of wildlife diseases, the role as CWD-coordinator is substantial in liaison activity towards governmental bodies responsible for regulation, animal disease and wild species management. At the seminar, Våge will consider wild animal welfare in the aspect of this issue, in a state of battling a complex, wildlife health threat, CWD.

Elina Åsbjer is a veterinarian at the Swedish Centre for Animal Welfare and a resident in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law at the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine, engaged in different animal welfare questions. She is also an epidemiologist at the National Veterinary Institute in Sweden. At the seminar she will address different welfare aspects for bears in enclosures during tests and training with hunting dogs.

Mikko Äijälä works as a junior researcher and PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland. He holds a Master’s degree in tourism research. He has worked as a researcher in two projects related to welfare of animals working in tourism in Finnish Lapland. Currently he is working on his PhD project in which he studies the agency of sled dogs through exploring human-sled dog encounters in tourism. In the seminar, he will approach the issue of wild animal welfare from the perspective of tourism as a global and contradictory industry.