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  • Writer's pictureVAWA

Wickedness and connectedness

Updated: Jul 10


VAWA's Managing Director was a plenary speaker at the Global Synergy for Animal Welfare: From Research to Impact workshop.

Helen's abstract noted the complexities embedded in some of Aotearoa's wicked problems, such as the '...genuine gaps in understanding, a wilful disregard of knowledge, welfare-washing, vested interests, bank-lending criteria, government policy and regulatory capture.

It also notes that when addressing these, ' holistic One Health | One Welfare | te ao Māori/indigenous approach needs to be used. This means the welfare of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) is ensured, and in turn, she can she support the welfare of our animals, and our people.'

The full presentation can be viewed on You Tube.


In July, VAWA was asked to speak at the Animal Welfare Chapter of the ANZCVS Conference (see also under Introducing VAWA tab) about VAWA's genesis and our One Health | One Welfare |te ao Māori approach.

VAWA was asked to present at the NZVA Conference in June which provided an opportunity to speak about wicked problems and welfare-washing (see also under Animal Welfare System | Review and Renew tab).


VAWA was delighted to speak at the #ufaw2022 conference (starts 33mins) and explore how New Zealand ended up with animals living on bare soil (or even mud) over winter, and without shade in the summer.

Why is it so hard to shift the needle and improve outcomes for our animals, environment and people? Why can’t we just fix it? Who’s responsible? Can we use regulation to force change? Listen in to hear some thoughts on this!

There were some great questions during the panel session: isn’t co-designing solutions just pandering to stakeholders?

It’s fair to say compromise will be needed by all to engineer our way out of these wicked problems - that compromise ought only be about the rate of change, not the vision for our animals.

But first, we need to co-design and agree to that vision for animal agriculture. Do we think cages and crates, mud, virtual fencing and no shade will be part of our farming systems in 2040 or 2050? If not, how do we co-design a pathway to our new future?

VAWA has previously published on the need for a review and reset on our animal welfare system. There's more to come on this topic - join us and be part of the change!

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