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Getting Involved With Animal Welfare & Conservation

By: Margaret Paxton - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Conservation Animal Animals Wildlife

Getting involved with animal welfare and conservation does not necessarily involve travelling miles from home-it is as much about protecting pets and local wildlife as saving tigers and polar bears!

What is Animal Welfare & Conservation?

Animal welfare is about the treatment of all animals, worldwide and includes wild, captured and domestic animals. Conservation is about the preservation of natural habitats and environments for animals and, as such, is linked with the welfare of all animals.

How to Find Out

In the UK there are some fantastic opportunities to get involved with local conservation.The word conservation applies as much to the landscape-soils, plants, trees and water-as to the diverse range of wildlife whose existence depends on each unique habitat.

Local and national conservation schemes are well advertised-they need the support of volunteers and donations from the public to survive-and the publicity to promote awareness of all the endemic endangered species. If the keen beginner is not sure where to look, local libraries will have information about welfare and conservation schemes in their area.

Get Involved with Local Conservation Projects

Start with something that inspires! For example, Exmoor ponies (themselves an endangered species) are being used in selected areas across the UK as a conservation tool.Herds of Exmoor ponies are grazed on threatened grasslands and moorlands because they eat many of the invasive plants that would otherwise take over the less resistant, but essential, native plants.

Conservation charities like these are usually very keen on introducing new volunteers. For the new conservationist, these organisations are a great introduction to the subject and help them to become more aware of what is often on their doorstep! Working with others like this is also a good opportunity for team-building skills to develop.

Animal Welfare Experience

Animal welfare and conservation are both global issues. To get involved does not mean the newly interested have to go thousands of miles in order to be effective though.

Local animal welfare groups are always keen to recruit new volunteers. They may be involved in working to provide toads with a safer route near busy roads, rescuing stranded dolphins, campaigning for the protection and improvement of livestock, or protecting the breeding grounds of endangered birds. Animal welfare is just as concerned with the treatment of domestic pets and the improvement of conditions for animals who may otherwise be commercially exploited.

The Animal Welfare Act

To promote responsible animal ownership by:
    Providing animals with a suitable place to live
  • Feeding appropriate diet
  • Ensuring animals show normal behaviour patterns
  • Keeping animals with (or without if applicable) other animals
  • Protecting animals from pain, injury and disease

Emotional Subject

The subject of animal welfare and conservation creates strong emotions in some people; not always to the advantage of the animals concerned. To get involved and really achievesomething, the new worker in this field would be well advised to learn from a recognised welfare and conservation body and work within their boundaries.

Qualifications and Prospects

There are no academic qualifications specifically required to start as a volunteer orassistant in Animal Welfare & Conservation. However, enthusiasm and sincerity are important. As with the majority of careers with animals, the work is hard but rewarding.Qualifications in Animal First Aid, as an Animal Care Assistant and courses in Animal Behaviour & Welfare are available-and worth studying-for those who wish to go further in this aspect of animal care.


Gaining experience in animal welfare and conservation is extremely worthwhile. Not only does it give the student a chance to help animals and their environment (and that of humans) but it also helps to promote teamwork and a greater awareness of what is going on around us-sometimes right on our doorsteps!

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