Resources The Five Freedoms: A history lesson in animal care and welfare The Five Freedoms have been the basis of animal welfare since the s. Learn about what they are and why they have endured. September 6, Updated from an original article written by Tina Conklin. Concern about animal care and welfare is not a new topic for those who raise animals, but it continues to be of greater concern for the general public. More and more people want to know and understand how animals, especially those raised to enter the food chain, are cared for, where and how these animals live, and what a modern farm is like. The answers to these questions do not have one single, correct answer.
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Chaired by the zoologist Professor Humphrey Hewer. Hunger, thirst, pain and fear are terms that refer to well defined physiological processes. In contrast, discomfort, injury, disease, normal behavior and distress do not refer to well defined physiological processes in the same way. For instance, pain is an aversive sensory and emotional experience caused by stimulation of nociceptors.
Discomfort is a much more general terms and its referents include physical and thermal discomfort. Injury, disease and normal behaviour are very general or vague terms since an animal can be injured or diseased, or exhibit normal behaviour, in a multitude of ways. See Haynes for a comprehensive discussion of competing conceptions of animal welfare.
A freedom—or a condition denoted by a freedom—that is not necessary should be discarded because, amongst other reasons, regulation based on the Five Freedoms may unnecessarily burden farmers economically. It is possible to define the words in a more technical sense, perhaps selecting from the scientific and philosophical literature. However, the selected definitions could be contested, ultimately leading to disputing the conclusions of this paper.
Therefore although standard dictionary definitions are not ideal for all purposes, they are preferable to more technical definitions for the aims of this paper. The Farm Animal Welfare Council, a non-departmental public body, had its status changed to an expert committee on April 1 and is now called the Farm Animal Welfare Committee. This discussion assumes the centrality of consciousness and sentiency in animal welfare.
An early argument for animal sentience is found in Brambell pp. Here, one can see that pleasure is diminished due to pain, not in a strictly necessary sense because pleasure is the opposite of pain, but rather because of the effects of pain. A second disadvantage is that if interpreted literally, the five freedoms can be criticised for being over-simplistic in not reflecting how sensations and emotions impact on motivation. For instance, an animal completely free from hunger would not eat, and though it would not suffer from hunger, it would perish of starvation.
Similarly, pain has an important adaptive function whereby the individual negatively associates the causative stimulus and learns to avoid it in the future. In this sense the experience of an adaptive intensity and duration of the sensations and emotions contained in the freedoms is necessary for good welfare.
References Botreau, R. Definition of criteria for overall assessment of animal welfare. Animal Welfare, 16, —
Brambell, F. Report of the technical committee to enquire into the welfare of animals. Ruth Harrison, Animal Machines. Feb 23, by. Brambell Committee Report. Brambell Committee.
Intensive Farming (Brambell Report)
I have nothing to add to the replies which I gave on 1st and 15th December. Could he not tell the House that he will inform the interested parties that there will be a definite time limit on consultations? Lady will appreciate that after I received the report I immediately asked for evidence from the associations. I have set a time limit—31st January. When I have had their views, I will consider what action I should take.