Beyond the 5 animal welfare freedoms


The Five Freedoms, a set of standards for humane animal care, have long been respected and recognized internationally by animal welfare organizations, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, and many more . The American Humane Association calls the Five Freedoms the gold standard of animal welfare.

The original guidelines were developed in response to a 1965 UK Government report on animal husbandry. Each of the freedoms was followed by a “provision” explaining how the goal could be achieved. Originally geared towards farm animals, the application of these five care principles has been generalized to include keeping pets.

The five freedoms and the correlation of five determinations

These are the five freedoms and five regulations as they are currently accepted worldwide:

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst provided by easy access to fresh water and diet to maintain full health and strength.
  2. Freedom from discomfort provided by an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable rest area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or illness through prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express (most of) normal behavior ensured by adequate space, facilities and company of the animal’s own species.
  5. Freedom from fear and hardship ensured by ensuring conditions and treatments that avoid mental suffering.

Many of our farming practices still do not meet these standards. Unfortunately, many animal husbandry practices are even lacking in puppy mills and even in some homes, animal shelters and emergency services.

An even more advanced model: the five domains

More recently, a more advanced approach to animal welfare has been suggested, in line with the trend towards more dog-friendly dog ​​training. David J. Mellor, Ph.D., Director of the Animal Welfare and Bioethics Center and Professor of Animal Welfare Science at Massey University in New Zealand, developed and promoted a set of guidelines he calls the five domains. His model emphasizes maximizing the positive experiences of our animals, not just minimizing the negative ones. This approach goes beyond animal welfare (which takes care of an animal’s basic needs) to a modern, far more advanced and humane concept of animal welfare (ensuring the animal’s quality of life).

In an article published in 2016, published in Animals Dr. Mellor (an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal devoted solely to animals, including zoology and veterinary sciences) said, “A significant improvement in scientific understanding over the past two decades now shows that the Five Freedoms are not being captured either in the details or in the generality of its expression, in the breadth and depth of current knowledge of the biological processes that are important for understanding animal welfare and steering its management. “

Dr. Mellor described his model in more detail in an article also published in 2017 Animals. “The five-domain model is a focusing tool to enable a systematic, structured, comprehensive and coherent assessment of animal welfare,” he wrote. “The purpose of each of the five domains is to draw attention to areas that are relevant to both animal welfare assessment and management.”

Dr. Mellor suggested that there are five areas that are critical to modern, humane animal husbandry.

To provide clear guidelines for beneficial goals for animal welfare management, Dr. Mellor makes the appropriate provisions in each of these areas. Here we list its five domains, followed by questions we developed to help you assess how good they are you It is possible that these regulations are followed – or not followed – when caring for your own dogs.

1: Good nutrition

Provide easy access to fresh water and diet to maintain full health and vitality. Minimize thirst and hunger and make eating a pleasant experience.

Self-assessment: Do you feed a high quality food that is also pleasant for your dog to taste? Do you add extra tasty treats, vary his diet and control the presence of aversives while he eats, and maybe even incorporate scented work into his meals to ensure he has an enjoyable dining experience? Do you have water available at all times (except maybe when he is sleeping)? Do you avoid using water or food deprivation as a training tool?

2: Good environment

Provide shade / protection or suitable housing, good air quality and comfortable rest areas. Minimize discomfort and stress and promote thermal, physical and other comfort.

Self-assessment: Make sure your dog always has access to areas with reasonable / comfortable temperature levels – warmth in winter and air conditioning in summer? Does he have the opportunity to decide for himself how warm or cool he wants to be? If you go for a walk with your dog in the heat or cold, depending on the dog, offer him different options to stay cool or warm depending on the dog: warm jackets, boots to protect the paws from the hot road surface, moistening of the fur, for a cooling one To allow evaporation?

3: Good health

Prevent or treat quickly, and diagnose and treat diseases and injuries, and promote good muscle tone, posture, and cardiorespiratory function. Minimize shortness of breath, nausea, pain and other aversive experiences and encourage the joys of resilience, strength, strength and well-coordinated physical activity.

Self-assessment: Is your dog aware of any necessary prophylactic treatments? Do you see a veterinarian immediately at the first sign of illness or injury? Do you consistently alleviate temporary or long-term pain or discomfort with suitable analgesics? Is your dog fit, well trained and at a good weight, not over-crated or overweight?

4: Adequate behavior

Make sure you have enough space, adequate facilities, pleasant company and appropriately varied conditions. Minimize threats and nasty behavior restrictions and encourage engagement in worthwhile activities.

Self-assessment: Do you allow and encourage your dog to act like a dog? Does he have regular opportunities to bark, dig, run around, jump on things, play, get wet, get dirty, and otherwise act like a dog – with you and / or other dogs or individuals of other species when he is Does company enjoy it?

5: Positive mental experiences

Offer safe, congenial, and species-specific opportunities to have pleasant experiences. Encourage various forms of comfort, pleasure, interest, trust, and a sense of control.

Self-assessment: Take him to places he likes to go and encourage activities that keep him occupied, challenge his creativity, give him decisions, arouse his curiosity, make him think and solve problems, boost his self-confidence, and in other ways his Increase the joy of life?

Achieve your own dog ownership

We would expect that Whole dog journal Readers generally do a good job for the welfare of their animal companions. Even so, we can all do a self-exam to make sure we are doing as much as possible to ensure the well-being of our animal companions as well.

Take another look at the five areas and regulations, and then take a critical look at all of the things you provide to improve your own dog’s wellbeing. If you can honestly tick all five boxes, our hats are there for you: they’re a canine companion superstar and an advocate for your dog’s wellbeing.

On the other hand, once you identify some areas that need work, start making the changes needed – and kudos to you for your willingness to give your dog the best possible life.

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