The importance of animal welfare
“The vast majority of us would never think of harming or hindering the welfare of our beloved pets at home, but what about the animals not under our roof or those used in the third world? ”
Up to 200 million animals worldwide do the jobs of trucks, tractors and taxis, many carrying backbreaking loads in searing heat. It can be a short and brutal life.
The harsh reality is many sick, injured and mistreated working animals never receive veterinary care.
It’s easy to forget the animals used for food, clothing, companionship, scientific research, recreation and education - but they deserve a right to a full and healthy life, don’t they? Animal welfare is our defense against the mistreatment and degradation of animals all over the world and poverty or ignorance is no excuse.
There are a number of reasons why animal welfare is so important:
In the developing world animals are essential to communities. They plough the fields, haul produce to market, and transport the sick to hospitals. Across the world many millions of people rely on animals for their livelihoods – and sometimes even their lives.
Law protects the welfare of animals and therefore anyone who breaks this will be punished depending on the severity of the crime. Britain has had legislation to protect animals against cruelty since the early 20th century, and nowadays there are even more specific laws regarding animals used in research and livestock on farms.
It is our moral duty to protect animals against people who cause deliberates and unnecessary pain or suffering to them. Of course this is up to the individual but it is difficult to find a human being that would disagree.
Poor animal welfare will often result in a reduced economic output, so it’s in farmers’ interests to look after their livestock. This is especially important in the third world as they need the output and produce more than most and poverty is no excuse for the mistreatment of any animal.
Apart from these, the best way to understand animal welfare is to have a concept of the definition - by understanding the term, it is easier to then follow its guidelines and hold others accountable. The most widely used definition is referred to as the ‘Five Freedoms for Animal Welfare’ and was outlined by the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1968.
Although originally developed for farm animals, the following guidelines can be applied also to working animals anywhere in the world, defining the needs of animals that should be met under all circumstances:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
2. Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
4. Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring condition and treatment with avoid metal suffering.
5. Freedom to express normal behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
These guidelines should be followed to ensure an animal’s welfare wherever you are in the world and whatever your profession.
Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad (SPANA) is London based
working and caring for the working animals across the world. SPANA provides animal welfare
and animal care in third world countries including, Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia and Syria.
Author - Aatif
Tags - animal charity, animal welfare, animal welfare charity
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