Made “official” by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) in 1979, the Five Freedoms of Farmed Animals date back to 1965:
- Freedom from hunger or thirstby ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour;
- Freedom from discomfortby providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment;
- Freedom to express (most) normal behaviourby providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind;
- Freedom from fear and distressby ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Today they are more relevant than ever.
The Five fundamental Freedoms highlight a broader concept of animal welfare: one which includes the psychological well-being of animals in addition to their physical well-being, thus confirming society’s increased sensitivity to the problem.
True, today consumers are interested in animal welfare because they are increasingly attentive to what they eat. Still, it is very important to remember that animals that grow in a monitored environment are less subject to disease, grow faster and give a final product of higher quality. All these are strong advantages for farmers aiming to optimise their production.