ACI2016 Keynotes

Third International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction
15-17 November 2016, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom



Dr. Veasey first trained as a zoologist at the University of London before gaining a master's degree in applied animal behavior and animal welfare science at the University of Edinburgh and a doctorate in behavioral ecology at the University of Glasgow. He has developed nearly two decades of experience as a zoological director and zoo designer in some of the largest zoos in Europe and North America; and he has carried out research in areas ranging from what does a zoo giraffe miss (if anything) about its native habitat having never experienced it, through to why do birds lay the number of eggs they do, solving an ecological enigma first identified by Charles Darwin. DrVeaseyis widely published on zoo animal welfare, with a particular interest in issues relating to elephant welfare and their management, and has advised governments and non-governmental organizations on wild animal welfare and conservation issues across three continents. DrVeasey’sresearch in animal welfare science and in understanding why animals have evolved to behave the way they do, combined with practical experience in managing and designing habitats for wild animals, has given him a unique perspective into the welfare and management of wild animals in zoos, as well as their management and conservation in the wild.

Title: Identifying the Behavioral and Cognitive Needs of Wild Animals: an Essential Pre-cursor for Compassionate Animal Management
Abstract: Animal computer interactions have the potential to significantly impact the welfare of captive animals; however to optimize these interactions in enhancing welfare it is crucial to understand the nature of animal welfare and the needs of animals; in this presentation, I will attempt to address both of these topics. Animal welfare relates to the affective or emotional states of animals, in other words how they feel. However, in the absence of a common language, these feelings remain closed to us, which creates considerable challenges in both assessing and managing captive animal welfare. Providing for the basic physical needs of captive animals sufficient to ensure their survival is in most cases relatively simple. However, even when the physical needs of captive animals are well catered for, their psychological needs are frequently not; in fact, efforts to cater for the physical needs of animals frequently conflict with their psychological needs. Our failure to effectively cater to the psychological needs of animals undoubtedly represents the most significant frontier in animal welfare science. To effectively cater to the psychological needs of animals it is necessary to provide for the behavioral and cognitive needs of animals; in other words to provide opportunities for animals to express those behaviors and cognitive processes essential for their welfare in captivity to be adequate. Until recently, there was no practically applicable framework available to identify the full spectrum of behavioral and cognitive needs of a species. The framework described here overcomes previous obstacles by quantifying the psychological and cognitive priorities of animals using an expert panel and Delphi system to examine the evolutionary significance, motivational strength, and motivational origins of behaviors and cognitive states upon the affective of states of animals. The output from this process is an ethogramcombining behaviors and cognitive processes which quantifies the relative importance of specific aspects of an animal’s ethology to its welfare such that these needs can be addressed on a prioritized basis. This framework has the potential to deliver the greatest paradigm shift in animal welfare management for 50 years.




Professor Donald Broom was appointed in 1986 as the first professor of animal welfare in the world. For over 30 years, his contributions to the discipline and the seminal nature of his evolving thinking at the moving frontiers of its development have had an exceptional and sustained influence on animal welfare science thinking in the United Kingdom, Europe, and many other countries. With over 350 peer-reviewed publications, books, and textbooks to his name, it is not possible to read learned treatises or other commentaries on animal welfare science without frequent reference to Professor Broom’s thinking. In addition to contributing to developing the frontiers of the science at a fundamental level, Professor Broom also has applied that understanding to the practical care and protection of farm, companion, working, and wild animals, both terrestrial and aquatic, on an impressively wide front. This experience has underpinned his sustained, insightful and influential contributions to UK national, European, and wider international standard-setting bodies and advisory agencies, often in leadership positions, including as Chair of the E.U. Scientific Veterinary Committee, Animal Welfare Section, and Vice-Chair of subsequent E.U. committees such as the EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare. Accordingly, he has greatly influenced the science-based development of UK and international animal welfare laws, regulations, directives, and advisory documents. Professor Donald Broom is a recipient of the prestigious UK Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW)’s 2016 Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Welfare Science.


Title: ComputerUse by Non-Humans to Improve their Welfare?
Abstract: The welfare of animals is better if they have control over their environment. Some environmental control would involve computers. Hence it would be good to consider the potential for the animals that we keep to use computer-linked systems. However, any such systems would have to be limited in some ways. We already use computers in investigating the cognitive ability of animals and in controlling animal environments. Computers are also used for assessing the strength of animal preference and how good or poor welfare is. But to what extent can we pass the control to animals that we keep?