• To improve Animal Welfare and Ethics in Australia and internationally.
  • To be recognised in Australia and internationally as an active and objective research centre in the field of Animal Welfare and Ethics science.
  • To be sustainably funded through transparent collaborations, commissions and philanthropy.


To improve Animal Welfare, and the surrounding ethical issues, through research, education, and collaboration that recognises the cultural diversity of human-animal interaction.


  • Ethical
  • Objective
  • Collaborative
  • Transparent
  • Progressive

Project priorities

  • Transport issues, in particular live export and rail transport
  • Traditional mutilating practices, such as mulesing, castration, dehorning and tail docking
  • The acceptability of animal confinement
  • Shade provision for farm animals
  • Nutrition of rangeland animals during drought
  • New breeding technologies for animals
  • Medical treatment of farm animals, the adequacy of veterinary and husbandry provision in the bush
  • The impact of changing life styles on companion animals
  • Feral cats and dogs
  • The destruction of unwanted animals
  • Horse jumps and issues concerning the racehorse industry, such as the use of whips and training schedules
  • The housing of experimental animals
  • Management of zoo animals

Objective research

The Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics maintains principles of transparent, ethical and impartial research. The Centre is dependent on financial support from donors to continue this objective research.

Support for the Centre comes from individuals and organisations interested in the development of animal management practices that improve and safeguard animal welfare.  Donations are used to enable vitally important research to be conducted to improve the welfare of animals.

Principles for our research activities

  • The principle research activities of the Centre will have animal welfare and/or ethics as the primary focus of the research.
  • CAWE research shall not cause animals to suffer unnecessarily.
  • A non-partisan, objective approach to welfare issues is advocated.
  • Publicity for the research is under the control of the Director.
  • The results of research backed by public money must be available to the public.

Ethical expertise

  • CAWE provides a source of expertise that is well researched, ethical and independent. It is a world-class research centre recognised for its scientific approach to animal behaviour and welfare issues.
  • CAWE stays up-to-date with national and overseas animal welfare issues and attitudes. CAWE represents a rich publication history that has influenced animal welfare science and the animal welfare movement.
  • CAWE is accomplished at investigating issues within the animal industry (primary industry, companion, native, sporting or entertainment animals) and makes recommendations to develop and improve industry practices and strategies.
  • CAWE's extensive network enables liaisons with all stakeholders including industry, government bodies, the veterinary profession, community groups, and animal welfare groups.
  • CAWE is strengthened by an educational component, which increases the focus on animal behaviour and welfare in the undergraduate curriculum.
  • CAWE also facilitates input into government policy and legislation concerned with animal welfare and ethics.

Establishing a Chair in Animal Behaviour and Welfare was an idea pioneered by the Cattleman's Union in the mid-1980s. They saw that animal welfare issues would confront not only livestock producers but also other primary industries. The establishment of a Chair in Animal Welfare also addresses the need for all levels of governments to have access to objective scientific advice on animal welfare.

In 1989 a UQ Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare made a recommendation that a Chair in Animal Welfare be established at the University of Queensland. This was achieved in 2003 and was followed shortly afterwards by the establishment of a Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics (2005) to provide a focus for other staff working in this area and as an administrative hub to support the activities of the Chair.

The Cattleman’s Union's foresight and leadership demonstrated a commitment by Queensland's primary industries to address animal welfare issues. It has now become imperative that all organisations involved with animals have access to current, relevant and unbiased research and use this to establish best practice.