Today’s eco-question: What are the pillars of animal welfare?

5 freedoms, 5 fundamental requirements: the commitments to animal welfare

Just as people have a Declaration of Human Rights, there are also founding texts setting forth the rights of animals. The Universal Declaration of Animal Rights states that the “disregard and contempt for the rights of animals have resulted and continue to result in crimes by man against nature and against animals”. Once again, traceability in value chains and transparent access to information make it possible to identify, record and re-establish any framework needed to guarantee decent treatment.

5 Animal freedoms

Following an investigation into intensive livestock farming in the mid-1960s, a text outlining the 5 Animal Freedoms was first drawn up in England and has become a founding framework used by many international organizations to analyze animal behavior.

It stipulates that animals should not suffer from hunger and thirst, discomfort, injury and disease, fear and anxiety, and should be free to express the normal behavior of their species.

Read also: Smart Key: What are the fundamentals of animal welfare?

5 domains of animal welfare

The 5 domains model reviews the conditions necessary to guarantee good treatment, in order to “facilitate systematic, structured, comprehensive and coherent assessment of animal welfare”.

The 5 domains are:

  • Nutrition, by permitting easy access to water and a diet adapted to the species.
  • Environment, by providing access to the outdoors, shelter from the elements and rest areas with enough surface area for the animal’s comfort
  • Health, by anticipating and promptly treating illness and injury, and not inflicting painful preventative treatments (such as mulesing for sheep)
  • Behavior, by allowing animals to express the behaviors inherent to their species and providing the appropriate conditions for their development.
  • These 4 domains together influence the 5th, the animal’s mental state.

The certifications currently in place in the fashion industry cover all or part of these criteria. Any improvement policy undertaken must verify how the criteria selected by the certifiers address these five requirements, to ensure they cover all the parameters essential to the dignity of animals.

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