The five freedoms, sometimes also known as Brambell’s five freedoms, are a compact of rights for animals that are under human control. It includes those animals intended to be used by us for food or for those animals that act as working animals.
The five freedoms were originally developed from a UK Government report on livestock husbandry in 1965. The five freedoms are used as the basis for the actions of professional groups. These professional groups include vets and have also been adopted by representative groups internationally including the World Organisation for Animal Health and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Most animal care givers abide by the five freedoms, and without knowing it, any responsible owner go well over and beyond these freedom rights for their animals.
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Freedom from hunger or thirst
It is common knowledge to most that animals need food and water, especially in captivity. By ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor, we adhere to the first of the five freedom rights of animals. You can read more about this interesting and much-debated subject in our article about how many meals is enough.
Freedom from discomfort
By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area you will fulfil this right. This includes simple things like a kennel with a roof if your dog is left outside in a run and bringing that dog inside the house or even a shed at night if it is very cold. Of course we know most pooches have the run of the house with their own beds.
Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
We provide this freedom by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment of the above. This means that if your dog is visibly in pain or has an injury to take him or her to be seen by a health care professional without delay. If your dog suffers from a chronic disease to keep up with chronic medication and when the time comes where freedom from pain is not possible any more, to make the kind decision of euthanasia.
Freedom to express normal behavior
All dogs have a natural desire to express themselves. Some are happy go lucky, some are shy and like to hide, some just want to lay out all day… by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind we allow our animals to express their normal behaviour. Thought should be given to strike a compromise. For example if you are living in a confined space yourself, a daily walk in the park will make up for lack of space and if you cannot afford – money or space wise – to acquire canine company for your pet, you can always make a play date with someone else.
Freedom from fear and distress
We can make sure our pets are free from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. Much has been said about training a dog with positive reinforcement rather than with fear.