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What is animal welfare?

What is animal welfare?

This concept of well-being has been strengthened and installed in the agendas of companies and governments in recent years in order to apply policies that do not affect the quality of life of animals. Find out what it means and what it has to teach us.

Animal welfare is a concept that has many definitions, but in general, it refers to the quality of life of an animal. It seeks to determine if he is in good health, if his physical and psychological conditions are adequate and if he can express his natural behavior within his environment.

Not long ago, it was determined that animals are beings capable of feeling and suffering, that they have welfare needs that must be respected and that, therefore, they deserve a dignified life, just like us.

So here a very important concept appears that goes hand in hand with animal welfare: that of five freedoms, determined by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) in 1992.

Nowadays, it is very difficult to understand what animal welfare is if we do not know what are the 5 freedoms that an animal should have.

The 5 freedoms of animal welfare

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst: Permanent access to a necessary amount of fresh water and a healthy diet.
  • Freedom from discomfort: Live in a clean and comfortable environment, where the animal does not suffer cold or heat, or lives in unsanitary conditions.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and illness: Access to health. Visits to the vet for checkups, diagnoses and treatments, if necessary. In the case of wild animals, living without causing pain or physical injury to humans.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior: Sufficient space in their habitat or in adequate facilities, and the company of individuals of the same species to act according to their nature.
  • Freedom from fear and anguish: Conditions that provide a healthy and calm environment, avoiding any type of mental suffering.

They serve as measuring stick to analyze and determine if the rights of an animal are respected or if it is necessary to apply various changes to guarantee a decent life.

Today science has also incorporated the need to experience positive emotions. However, markets such as tourism or farm animals, suggest that animals are living a very distant reality from that supported by these concepts.

A very different reality

Currently, million animals All over the world they are raised for meat, milk, eggs and other products for our consumption, but many of them live in conditions of suffering and stress. For example, there are low welfare farms where chickens are crammed together and sitting on their own waste or where pigs suffer mutilation and fights due to the limited mobility space that exists, which generates diseases that can also be transmitted to humans .

It also happens that many wildlife animals are used for entertainment, having to participate in shows, take long walks with tourists or simply "pose" in a photo, which leads them to be torn from both nature and their mothers to cage them .

This scenario has become common in various parts of the world, but fortunately not in all thanks to the fact that change and awareness are in our hands. To be conscious consumers When choosing where to buy our food, asking ourselves what type of tourist we want to be and not going to places where animal abuse is the currency of exchange, generates a big twist in favor of animal welfare.

It seems very simple. However, it is a commitment that requires work and responsibility, but that bears fruit for the change that animals are requiring. Let's act on their behalf and let them live in nature, where they belong.

By Jezebel Handel

Video: Animal Welfare and the Future of Zoos. Ron Kagan. TEDxOaklandUniversity (October 2020).