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Bramble Five Freedoms

Bramble five freedoms


The Five Freedoms were developed in response to a 1965 United Kingdom Government report on livestock husbandry. The Five Freedoms set standards for humane animal care which was initially set for livestock but later the principles of care included the keeping of companion animals also.

In a paper published in 2016 in Animals (an international, journal devoted entirely to animals including zoology and veterinary sciences) Dr Mellor stated that Scientific understanding over the last two decades showed that the 1965 Government Five Freedoms was mainly to take care of the animal’s welfare in livestock and did not include companion animals and the mental well-being of the animal and their quality of life.

In 2017 Dr Mellor published a paper in Animals and explained that “the purpose of the five domains was to draw attention to areas that are relevant to both animal welfare assessment and management”.

These Five Freedoms and correlating Five Provisions are accepted worldwide: 

1 Freedom from hunger or thirst, provided by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour

2 Freedom from discomfort, provided by an appropriate environment, including shelter and comfortable resting area.

3 Freedom from pain, injury, or disease, provided by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4 Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour, provided by sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind.

5 Freedom from fear and distress, provided by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering.

Sadly, the Five Freedom Principles are not being carried out in some agricultural practices, animal shelters, rescues, puppy mills, and Zoos. Dr David J Mellor, PhD Director of the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre and professor of Animal Welfare Science at Massey University in New Zealand, developed and promoted a set of guidelines more progressive, that goes beyond taking care of an animal’s basic needs.

Many of our agricultural practices still fall short of these standards. 

In order to provide clear guidance for animal welfare and management Dr Mellor described correlating provisions in each of these domains of modern humane animal keeping.

1 Good Nutrition

Provide ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. Minimize thirst and hunger, and enable eating to be a pleasurable experience. 

I maintain that it is essential to provide a proper balance of nutrients when feeding your animal. Animals need a balanced diet for growth and maintenance of a healthy body. They need a certain combination of carbohydrates, fats, protein vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function properly. This can be provided in a good quality species appropriate diet. and varied diet. Fresh water should be available and accessible for your animal. I would also include dental care as a poor diet can be detrimental to your animal’s teeth.

2 Good Environment

Provide shade/shelter or suitable housing, good air quality, and comfortable resting areas. Minimize discomfort and exposure, and promote thermal, physical and other comforts.

In addition to Dr Mellor’s provisions I believe that species and breed and size of your animal and their characteristics should also be taken into consideration.

 3 Good Health

Prevent or rapidly diagnose and treat disease and injury, and foster good muscle tone, posture, and cardiorespiratory function. Minimize breathlessness, nausea, pain, and other aversive experiences and promote the pleasures of robustness, vigour, strength, and well-coordinated physical activity.

 I would like to add to Dr Mellors provisions in good health to ensure that your animal does not become overweight through not being exercised enough and to provide plenty of stimulation to make sure your animal does not become bored and lead to destructive tendencies.

 4 Appropriate Behaviour

Provide sufficient space, proper facilities, congenial company and appropriately varied conditions. Minimize threats and unpleasant restrictions on behaviour and promote engagement in rewarding activities.

I would add allowing your animal to engage in what they like. For example do you allow your dog to sniff and explore when you are out walking? jump around and play whilst enjoying their surroundings. To enjoy your company and the company of other dog’s if they enjoy engaging with other dogs when out. Also to go to different places not the same walk every day if possible.

5 Positive Mental Experiences – Socialization

Provide safe, congenial, and species-specific opportunities to have pleasurable experiences. Promote various forms of comfort, pleasure, interest, confidence, and a sense of control.

I believe that the socialization of a puppy is crucial in the early days of their development in promoting good mental health. Experiences during the first year of a dog’s life can make all the difference to their future temperament and character and can result in a friendly, well-adjusted adult dog who enjoys the company of people and lives life to the full.

In order to socialise your puppy they must encounter a vast array of experiences. However, you must be careful before they are fully vaccinated it is better to invite children and adults and fully vaccinated puppy friendly dogs into your home.

 When your puppy is fully vaccinated introduce them on your travels enjoying new and varied environments for example town and country walks, parks, the beach if you live nearby and to cats and other animals so that they feel comfortable around them.

Visit your vet to get your puppy weighed and bring treats so that a visit to your veterinary surgeon will be a pleasant experience for them. Lots of car rides to help get used to the motion and noise of traffic etc. visit a pet store and let them walk around and a pet friendly café would be great.

It is essential to let them get used to household and garden activities eg. Vacuum cleaners tv radio and especially the lawn mower when mowing the lawn. Lots of sights, sounds and smells. Puppy parties and dog training classes are excellent for socialisation and training.

Remember that it is the quality of the exposure that counts and gently ease your puppy into each new experience. Have treats with you and allow them to watch from a comfortable distance until they are ready to explore.

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Sep 11, 2023

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