Conference Overview

The Companion Animal Conference provides an opportunity to network, share your experience and learn from leading national and international experts in Animal Welfare and Human Behaviour Change.

Don’t miss your chance to be inspired by fascinating talks in the vibrant and multicultural City of Sails, Auckland, New Zealand.

Draft Programme

This will be updated as the programme develops. The full conference programme will be available on this website one week before the conference.

Click here to download the 2018 Conference Brochure (PDF - 550 KB).

Day 1 - Monday 17 September

08:30am – 10:00am


10:00am – 10:15am       


Welcome (NZCAC Chair – Barry Helem)

Morning Session Theme:

Human Behaviour Change – Making Animal Welfare Relevant

10:15am – 11:00am

Keynote speaker: Debbie Busby – Improving animal welfare: the human element

11:00am – 11:20am

Morning Tea

11:20am – 11:40am

Natalie Waran – One Welfare: Making Animal Welfare Relevant

11:40am – 12:00pm

Jen Jamieson – Using education to influence human behaviour change to improve farm animal welfare

12:00pm – 12:20pm

Paula Neuman – Teaching Children to Incite Behaviour Change in the Greater Community

12:20pm – 1:05pm

Keynote speaker: Lynette McLeod – Designing Effective Behaviour Change Interventions for Cat Management: A Practical Guide

1:05pm – 2:00pm


Afternoon Session Theme:

Human Behaviour Change – Culture and Values

2:00pm – 2:45pm

Keynote speaker: Peter Thornber – Culture and socioeconomics impacting human behaviour - the current case of working horses and donkeys

2:45pm – 3:00pm

Rachel Forrest/Emma Steiner – Furry Whānau Wellbeing: Working with local communities for positive pet welfare outcomes

3:00pm - 3:15pm

Carmen Glanville – The Role of Duty of Care in Companion Dog Care and Management

3:15pm – 3:45pm

Afternoon Tea and Poster Session

Stephanie Bruce – Companion cat management: An insight into the predation and risk behaviours of Auckland cats via the use of camera and GPS technologies

Rachel Forrest/Emma Steiner – PATU Pets - The furry whanau

Katja Isaksen – Demographics, work and health in heading dogs and Huntaways

Laureline Guinnefollau – Does the background of veterinary students influence equine handling skills and knowledge of horse behaviour?

Peter Dormon – Human Behaviour Change - For Animals

3:45pm – 4:30pm

Keynote speaker: Sara Dubois – Take your values on vacation: Animal welfare & tourism

4:30pm – 5:20pm

Panel Discussion + Q&A (Human Behaviour Change for Animals): Sara Dubois, Ngaio Beausoleil, Peter Thornber, Debbie Busby, and Lynette McLeod

Chair: Dr Arnja Dale

5:20pm – 5:30pm

Close of Day 1 – Dr Arnja Dale


Pre-Dinner Mingle @ Bar


Conference Dinner & Assisi Awards

Pre-dinner Speaker: Prof Natalie Waran


Day 2 - Tuesday 18 September

9:30am – 9:40am

Day 2 welcome (NZCAC Vice Chair – Bill Kohi)

Morning Session Theme:

Human Behaviour Change – Improving Animal Welfare

9:45am – 10:30am

Keynote speaker: Debbie Busby – The human element: principles to practice

10:30am – 11:00am

Conference presentations

11:00am – 11:20am

Morning Tea

11:20am – 12:05pm

Keynote speaker: Ngaio Beausoleil – The role of scientists in human behaviour change for animals: NZ case studies

12:05pm – 12:20pm

Kristie Cameron – Do dog owners know their dogs? Identifying preferred rewards and positive behaviour during social interactions

12:20pm - 12:35pm

Jon Hickford & Rachel Forrest – DNA technologies for improving animal welfare: eradication of dermatosparaxis

12:35pm – 1:20pm

Keynote speaker: Peter Thornber – The Impact of government policy on human attitudes and behaviour - The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy experience

1:20pm – 2:15pm


Afternoon Session Theme:

Human Behaviour Change – Veterinary and Shelter Services

2:15pm – 3:00pm

Keynote speaker: Sara Dubois – AnimalKind Accredited: Defining humane in the animal-services marketplace

3:00pm – 3:15pm

Bidda Jones – Easier said than done: implementing best practice domestic cat management in Australia

3:15pm – 3:30pm

Afternoon Tea

3:30pm – 3:45pm

Jessica Moore-Jones – Human psychology to improve animal sheltering

3:45pm - 4:00pm

Jane Newman – Practical methods for identification of lost cats with reclusive behaviours

4:00pm - 4:15pm

Kat Littlewood – The influence of feline behavioural changes on euthanasia decision-making

4:15pm – 4:30pm

Wrap up & conference close


Day 3 - Wednesday 18 September: Workshop

9:00am – 9:15am

Welcome to workshop session

Facilitators: Prof Natalie Waran; Dr Arnja Dale, Dr Jessica Walker.

9:45am – 10:30am

Workshop session: Meta-analysis on the Animal Welfare Concerns in New Zealand

10:30am – 10:45am

Morning tea

10:45am – 12:00pm

Workshop session continued: Meta-analysis on the Animal Welfare Concerns in New Zealand


For the first time in over 25 years, the Companion Animal Conference will have a contestable abstract stream. Abstract submissions have now closed.

Abstracts will be published in the full conference programme, which will be available on this website one week before the conference.

Conference Workshop

On Day 3 of the conference (19 September), a half-day workshop will be held for invited delegates identified as representing the animal welfare industry. Utilising the key principles of human behaviour change explored during the conference, the workshop will analyse the five animal welfare issues and barriers to improvement most commonly identified by conference delegates. We will discuss the scientific and practical challenges of effecting human behavioural change in relation to these five animal welfare issues, with the aim of identifying actions that will enable potential solutions to the issues.

To enable this workshop to occur, we will ask all delegates to complete a short survey when registering for the conference and again during Day 2 of the conference. The results of these surveys will be shared with all delegates at the closing of the conference on Day 2. The results of both surveys will inform the discussion at the half-day workshop on Day 3.

When you register, please indicate whether you are interested in participating in the half-day workshop. Numbers are limited and will be by invitation only as we wish to ensure good representation from a range of animal welfare stakeholders.

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