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What is Animal Welfare?

‘Animal welfare’ is a term that refers to the physical and psychological wellbeing of animals.  Animals are sentient beings – which means that like humans, they have feelings too.  The term ‘animal welfare’ also refers to the belief or opinion that animals should not suffer needlessly, and that care should be given to the way that animals are born, raised, fed, sheltered, reproduce, interact with humans, and even how they die.  The health and wellbeing of an animal population impacts the health and wellbeing of humans in a number of different ways.  Animal welfare is a reflection of the quality of life in a community.

Animal welfare, as a belief or philosophy, asserts that there are five freedoms that all animals in the care of humans should have:

  • Freedom from thirst and hunger – humans must provide access to healthy food and water
  • Freedom from discomfort – humans should provide an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease – humans should prevent pain, injury of disease, or provide rapid diagnosis and treatment when it is unavoidable.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior – humans should provide sufficient space, a proper environment and when possible, company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress – humans should provide conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering of an animal.

Animal welfare is NOT the same thing as animal rights or animal liberation.

HAWC is not an animal rights or animal liberation organization.  We do not believe in or practice extremist, illegal or violent activity to promote an animal-related agenda.