Back 1965 a Technical Panel was convened to record on animal welfare issues arising from intensive farming systems. The committee produced the Bramble Report, which defined the first ‘animal rights’, enshrined in ‘Bramble’s Five Freedoms’: these explained that animals should have the freedom to “stand up, lie down, convert, groom themselves and stretch out their limbs”. Out on this committee came the Farm building Animal Welfare Advisory Panel, from which in lates 1970s the Farm Animal Wellbeing Council (FAWC) was shaped by the British Federal government. FAWC have developed the so-called ‘five freedoms’, where the proper welfare of domestic animals from farm building to abattoir is established. These ‘freedoms’, or ‘animal welfare needs’ now cover the treatment of national pets as well as farm animals. Farm animals
There is also a medically proven link between survival levels of an animal’s upbringing and meat quality, also, obviously a terribly kept animal won’t be as productive as a fit and healthy one, and will cost the producer money (now, will be certainly surely a huge incentive to get your animal’s survival right?! ).
Let’s look at the freedoms that an animal should enjoy under law – and really should enjoy anyhow if you need to generate good quality food from your farm building.
Freedom from hunger and thirst – a proper diet, including freshwater. Pet nutrition is as good investigated that there can be no excuse for nourishing any animal other than with an eating plan with the right balance of nutrition for it’s growth as well as productivity. My dog is gluten intolerant, and she actually is very active and also fussy – dog nutritionists have come up with a range of alternatives for her; similarly my pregnant sow needs a different diet from my lactating sow, and a 10 kilo pig needs a different balance of nutrients to a 75 kilo animal. Oh, and always check your consumers will work, in the same way as you’ll have ensured the dog’s normal water bowl is kept capped up.
Freedom from distress – somewhere suitable to live. The dog needs an appropriate environment, including protection and a comfortable relaxing area. For the mouse farmer this means supplying outdoor sows somewhere to shelter from the sunlight (they can get sunburn) and wallow (having no sweat glands means that getting covered in soil is not only fun, but cooling). Pigs need somewhere comfortable to relax and sleep – lots of fresh, clean, dry out straw is advisable, whatever size of pig we could considering.
Freedom for pain, personal injury or disease – safeguard from, and treatment of, illness and injury. This kind of can be achieved through prevention, rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment – for the pig farmer this means two things: excellent stockmanship and a great vet. The former comes through experience and training, the latter is a necessary part of your ‘team’. Find a vet that knows pigs, have them on your unit four times 12 months to check your stock and the environment over. Practical accommodation and handling facilities will assist minimise disease issues and injuries.
Freedom to express normal behaviour or, ‘the ability to share normal behaviour’ as the ‘welfare needs’ defines it. For a pig what this means is being able to cause around and explore their environment: difficult on a concrete base (unless there is a good quantity of straw), and impossible on slats. A pig needs sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of other pigs. The space requirements are laid down in Government regulations, and there is a necessity under law to provide pigs with some form of environmental enrichment – ‘manipulable materials’, such as cardboard cartons or softwood ‘toys’.
Freedom from dread and distress – for any need to be housed with, or away from each other from, other animals. This kind of ensures conditions and levels of care that avoid mental suffering. Pigs in particular have social needs and a relatively high level of intelligence. A strange pig introduced into a group will often be killed, or pass away of linked to stress conditions – a single pig will get depressed
Andrew is a skilled teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with 20 or so years agricultural experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automobile industry.