Different people belonging to different professions recognize the challenges related to animal welfare and take appropriate measures according to it. Farmers, ranchers, animal traders, scientists and cat breeders, zoo keepers, and others who live and work with animals recognize these challenges and work within their professions, hobbies and businesses to address them. These people related to different work fields adopt animal welfare policies, practices and programs to ensure the availability of wholesome food and fresh water, veterinary care, proper handling, socialization and in recent years many have added environmental enhancements for the animals they keep. They evaluate individual animals for health and welfare indicators such as energy level, appetite, hair coat, brightness of eye and other signs. Some businesses use scientific methods such as measuring cortisol levels in blood to evaluate stress levels. When best practices are in place and the animals appear comfortable and healthy, the level of animal welfare provided is generally deemed acceptable.
Here are given some examples of animal care policies:
- The American Kennel Club’ Care and Conditions Policy
- The Novartis Animal Welfare Policy for Animals in Research
- The American Zoological Association’s Animal Husbandry and Welfare Policy
- The American Medical Veterinary Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Principle
- The Five Freedomsis a widely cited animal welfare document both in Europe and in the United States.
Here is also given a contest about the five freedom concept about the animal welfare.
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- 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 Normal Behavior – 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.
There’s broad agreement among animal professionals and the general public that people should treat their animals humanely, but the devil is in the details and debate over how to accomplish that goal rages on. Despite the ability of intensive confinement systems and institutional settings to provide animals with wholesome food and fresh water, and to protect them from predators and extremes in weather, people generally distrust their ability to provide the same level of animal welfare that pastoral life offered in the past. This is the primary animal welfare focus in the US today and it’s one that animal professionals spend considerable resources working to address.
Regardless of the level of care provided and the actual level of wellbeing experienced by the animals, close-confinement housing systems and institutional settings appear unnatural to many onlookers: laboratories where animal studies are conducted; zoos, circuses and marine animal parks where exotic animals can be seen; large farms where thousands of animals may live in close confinement and commercial dog breeding kennels. Even as these businesses explore new approaches and adopt new and improved practices, however, the optics makes it difficult for critics to believe that animal welfare is being nurtured.