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'animal-welfare-cruelty

Animal Welfare and Cruelty


by Lauren Samet
10/05/2017


The “five needs” are a set of necessary requirements needed by all animals (including humans!) for them to have a life worth living, and one that is free from suffering.

The five needs are adapted from the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council’s “five freedoms”. These needs or “freedoms” were originally designed to protect the welfare of farmed animals, after growing concern for their quality of life triggered the Brambell Committee (1965) to review the capability of animals to suffer. Reviewing the scientific evidence for this, these needs were determined as essential to any animal in captivity, including domestic pets.

The needs include:

Studying these needs you can easily see how mistreatment and cruelty can be prevented if an animal owner uses them as a guide. One example is if an indoor breed of dog is made to live outside without shelter. This is not a suitable environment for a domesticated indoor animal and may prevent the dog from exhibiting normal behaviour patterns such as rest and sleep. In very cold or hot weather the animal may also suffer from exposure, which could lead to ill health. A similar example would be an owner not providing a suitable diet for their cat. The cat may acquire nutrient deficiencies resulting in poor health or suffer from chronic weight gain, which might eventually lead to joint pain.

The Animal Welfare Act (2006)

The Animal Welfare Act (2006) was set up as a way to legally protect the needs of animals in the UK. It is widely accepted now that animals are sentient beings and are capable of suffering. This legislation aims to give animals protection from suffering, or allows humans with a duty of care to the animal to receive formal warnings and prosecution if they purposefully harm or mistreat an animal. However even with this in place these can still occur.

There is research to suggest that humans carrying out cruel acts to animals are more likely to carry out cruel acts to humans too. This adds more value to why teaching children compassion for animals and others from a young age is important. Many issues within animal cruelty stem from ignorance about the capability of an animal to suffer, or the system within which an animal suffers (for example, the illegal puppy trade)

Organisations such as the RSPCA, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the Blue Cross are a part of the Animal Welfare Education Alliance (AWEA). This is a campaign to get Animal Welfare embedded into the National Curriculum within schools to provide children with the knowledge they need to be compassionate, informed and responsible owners for their pets and other animals within society.

For more information on pet animal welfare visit Defra’s Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Cats and Dogs or see the End Cruelty pages on the RSPCA website. Your veterinarian or local animal welfare organisation should also be able to provide extra advice on caring for your pet correctly.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the key animal welfare organisations, issues or campaigns, please follow these external links below:



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