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What Are The 5 Principles Of Animal Welfare?

The well-being of nonhuman animals

For people who raise animals, concerns regarding animal care and welfare are nothing new, but they continue to be more prevalent among the general population. More and more individuals are interested in learning about how animals are treated, especially those that are grown to become part of the food chain. 

They also want to know how contemporary farms operate and where these animals reside. There is no single, right response to these inquiries. Depending on the breed and function of the animal, there are countless proper ways to rear it. 

Consider the difference between cattle grown for beef production and cattle raised for dairy production. The size of the animals, location, temperature, amenities, personnel, farm goals and several other considerations are also taken into account while making a decision. 

The fact that farmers care about the animals they grow and want them to be healthy applies to all farms. Utilizing the Five Freedoms as a standard for addressing animals’ needs is one way to guarantee their well-being. 

The Five Freedoms

The Five Freedoms have been the cornerstone of animal welfare since the 1960s. Find out about them and why they have remained. It takes human experiences and ethics to assess an animal’s well-being by observing and interpreting its behavior and health status. 

An animal’s welfare encompasses its physical and mental states and how it interacts with its surroundings. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association website, the Five Freedoms are the foundation for creating animal care norms and expectations for various professional groups, including veterinarians. 

Internationally recognized organizations like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the World Organization for Animal Health have accepted them. The Five Freedoms are the foundation for most animal welfare audits created for use on farms and in processing plants. 

The Five Freedoms have a huge global influence and are used frequently. The Five Freedoms, as codified, are as follows:

Freedom From Hunger and Thirst

Animals must always have access to clean water and balanced food that keeps them strong and healthy. These diets should be tailored to the animal, considering its age, gender, breed, and any unique health issues it may have. 

For instance, geriatric cats, pregnant cats, adult dogs, and puppy dogs all require various types of food given at various times.

Freedom From Discomfort

All animals should be housed in a secure, sanitary setting with access to a relaxing place and shelter from the weather. Additionally, it’s important to keep an eye on and provide soft bedding, access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, and adequate noise levels. 

Food and water bowls need to be kept clean and well-maintained. If an animal is kept outside, it must have access to proper food and water bowls that won’t freeze or fall over, as well as protection from the weather.

Freedom From Pain, Injury, or Disease

Animals must be vaccinated against sickness and illness and, if necessary, must also get treatment and medication. This entails immunizing animals, keeping an eye on their physical well-being, and administering the right drugs to cure any wounds.

Freedom To Express Normal Behavior

The fourth freedom is the ability to behave normally, which includes having enough room to move around, interact with other animals, and be housed in suitable conditions. All animals’ bodily parts must be allowed to move freely while they play, run, and jump. 

They must also have the chance to socialize with other animals if doing so makes them happier. It is also important to respect one animal’s desire to stay away from another. This can be particularly difficult if the animals are kept in separate kennels.

Freedom From Fear and Distress

According to the fifth freedom, an animal’s mental and physical well-being must coexist since psychological stress can easily develop into physical sickness. Owners are responsible for ensuring their animals are not in any emotional pain or discomfort. All animals need a secure place, adequate enrichment, and prevention of overpopulation to make them feel protected.

The History Behind The Five Freedoms

Returning to 1964, “Animal Machines” was written by British novelist Ruth Harrison. The book described the exacting practices used to raise animals and fowl in that period.

In reaction to the public outcry about the book’s content, the British government established a committee to investigate the welfare of farm animals. The committee led by professor Roger Brambell issued the 85-page “Brambell Report” in 1965.

Animals should be free to move any which way and groom themselves, the study’s conclusion stated. These freedoms were then expanded upon to create “Brambell’s Five Freedoms,” a more detailed breakdown of the needs.

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