The Five Freedoms

The Five Freedoms

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Much is made of the so-called ‘Five Freedoms' in animal welfare circles. The Animal Welfare Act enshrines the animal owner's ‘Duty of Care' in British Law.

The Five Freedoms to which we should aspire are:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour
  5. Freedom from fear and distress

The Five Freedoms are considered an ‘aspirational' standard by the RSPCA and, in fact, that organisation exploits the concept in its promotion of so-called ‘Freedom Food'. The AVMC considers it tragic that RSPCA Freedom Food has nothing to do with actual ‘freedom', as the name misleadingly suggests but alludes to the Five Freedoms. We also consider it tragic that the RSPCA only ‘aspires' to these Five Freedoms. This is a purely pragmatic approach, in view of the fact that they have intensive (factory) farms under their banner. We believe the RSPCA should not be involved in factory farming at all. The organisation should, instead, be promoting actual achievement of those standards for animals. Stating an aspiration is not enough.

Animal ‘owners' do not need to wait for the RSPCA to put this ‘aspiration' into action on their ‘Freedom Food' intensive farms – we can provide these ‘freedoms' for our own animals anyway.

If standards are ‘aspirational', are they standards or simply advice? This creates a massive loophole and an excuse when things go badly wrong (See RSPCA Freedom Food).

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See also: Farm Assurance Schemes