The Five Freedoms

The Five Freedoms outline five aspects of animal welfare under human control.

They were developed in response to a 1965 UK Government report on livestock husbandry, and were formalized in about 1979 by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council.

The Five Freedoms have been adopted by professional groups including veterinarians, and organizations including the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The five freedoms as currently expressed are:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
  • Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  • Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
  • Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

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