“I currently live on an operating tree farm where our trees are grown for lumber and furniture. I’ve been working with and riding horses for 9 years. I am involved with my school’s agricultural program and our FFA chapter. I am the 6th generation on my family farm in Ohio. I plan to become a veterinarian when I’m older, as well as take over the farm.”
By: Cassie Bell
Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal. Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for the physical and mental needs of the animal. Different standards of what’s considered good welfare vary depending on the group, the standards are constantly being reviewed and updated by these welfare groups. There are five needs an animal has to be in “good” welfare they are suitable environment (place to live), a suitable diet, to be housed with or apart from other animals (if applicable), to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease and, crucially from COAPE’s standpoint, to exhibit normal behavior patterns. There are also five freedoms that animals have, “freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor, freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.
We have the animal welfare act of 2006, which has guidelines set in place that govern humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animal by dealers, research facilities, and exhibitors. This sets guidelines across the board to promote the best care for these animals and potential pets. “The animals covered by this Act included live dogs, cats, monkeys (nonhuman primate mammals), guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits.” This was established to not regulate how these animals are used for the research, but to set standards on how they get these animals. To summarize the main purposes of this act, it covers many commercial uses of many animals, creating a regulatory network administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
There are many ways that animal welfare plays into agriculture. These animals provide us with most of the food we eat every day. These animals that are raised for are food are viewed as units of production instead of being seen as a living thing, their welfare and health are continuously being put below efficiency and profit. People do feel that these animals shouldn’t needlessly
suffer but the basic industrial far is batting odds with the well-being of these animals. These industrial farms are pushing for the absolute maximum production without taking into account for the stress placed on these animals. By improving the overall animal welfare in these industries, we can greatly improve the attitude of farm owners, managers, and workers.
Animal welfare plays an important role in our everyday life, whether it’s through agriculture of the beef we bring home from the store, it is in everyone’s interest to have the best care for these animals.