The Duty of Care
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In our natural desire to have animals to share our lives, we keep animals in all sorts of different ways. It is important to consider the basic duty of care that we have to them.
Whatever the species, always ensure provision of:
- Adequate, fresh and suitable food (see diets)
- Clean, fresh water (some form of filtration is advisable, for tap water)
- Suitable and clean bedding
- Regular (and safe) disposal of excreta*
- Regular inspection of faeces and urine, for abnormality
- Appropriate shelter and ventilation, with protection from draughts or other inclement conditions
- Appropriate regular exercise (see also caging) and the opportunity to express natural behaviour patterns
- Adequately rich environment, to allow expression of the behavioural and emotional needs of the species
- Daily careful observation
- Prompt attention for any injury or illness
- If veterinary help is required, ensure it is timely**
- Regular checking of coat, teeth and feet (hooves / toenails)
- Regular grooming (appropriate to species)
* Rabbits produce two types of droppings, greenish fibrous pellets and dark, shiny, pasty pellets. They require access to the green, fibrous droppings, which they will re-consume, to provide them with vital nutrients.
** If veterinary help is needed, be sure that you understand what is being offered and enquire about all the possible options. This may include alternative medicine, for instance, instead of long-term drug usage or in place of some surgery. It may be necessary to seek a second opinion, if you feel that your own vet has insufficient experience in any particular field of species, disease or medicine. All veterinary surgeons are used to referring to ‘specialists’ in many fields, so this should present no problem.
See also: Animal Welfare Act and Five Freedoms
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