What is Animal Welfare?

Importance of Animal Welfare


Many people consider animal welfare similar to animal rights as they are connected to one point which is taking care of animals. The differences in animal rights and animal welfare are very significant and considerable.

The need for animal welfare is very important as it highlights the bond of the relationship between animals and humans. The person must ensure that the animal under their supervision is being taken care of in a humane manner.

Although, the responsibility for animals is taken into consideration since ancient times. It almost started 10,000 years back when the concern & love for animals resulted in their domestication and making them involved in agriculture work.

Breeding of animals started to flourish which gave the need for considering animal welfare to be adopted for making the bond between animals and humans more strong.

Importance of Animal Welfare

The term animal welfare is mostly used in terms of physical wellbeing. In the early days, farmers and veterinarians were mainly focused on providing food and shelter to animals.

The welfare of animals is also related to psychological wellbeing along with monitoring heart functioning, to analyze the ability of the animals to adapt or work in any given environment.

Although, these measures provide a satisfactory result they cannot guarantee the mental health of the animal. The animal’s heart rate and plasma cortisol can vary according to the surroundings and the animal’s past experiences.

 Policies of Animal Welfare

If the animal is being hunted or if it is with a herd or a mating partner the health can be different. The parameters for maintaining animal health can clearly state that animals have feelings and emotions which must be always kept in consideration.

Animal welfare is considered with the physical, natural, and mental wellbeing of the animal and it has evolved with time to protect all animal’s basic rights for healthy living.

Animal’s feelings are as important as their physical state as it helps in measuring the ability of the animal to work in any environment.

It helps in measuring the type of work they can do with their complete willingness along with the behavioral outcomes such as frustration and fear.

The natural aspect of animal welfare is that animals can live according to their surroundings and can perform all their activity work in the given circumstances. If the animal is suffering from physical pain or any mental stress medical aid is provided.

Major Aspects of Animal Welfare

The 3 aspects of animal welfare have been a topic of discussion amongst scientists. Animal activists to adopt as an animal welfare agenda.

Many scientists have proposed the necessary need for physical well-being, mental wellbeing & natural living wellbeing necessary. It can be said that animal welfare is the combination of proper wellbeing of the animal’s body.

Basically, its ability to live in the natural extent is all taken into consideration. Even though it may look very promising these aspects sometimes conflict with one another. It can result in practical challenges in animal welfare.

The Five Major Freedoms of the Animal Welfare

The domains provide the basic necessity for the animal to be able to live a healthy life under human supervision or ownership. Let’s understand the domains with their description.

Environmental Needs

It is the most basic requirement for an animal to be able to live and perform its behavioral tactics. The animal should be kept comfortably in which surrounding temperature, hygiene, atmospheric adaptability, noise level, air quality must be according to the animal’s wellbeing.

Nutritional Necessity

The factor that gives the access to the animal of proper diet and sufficient water supply. Animals are to be provided with all the necessary nutritional diet to maintain proper body weight for a healthy body.

Body Health

It is perhaps the most important domain for animal welfare. Every animal has to be looked after to maintain a healthy body. If the animal is injured or suffering from any disease whether major or minor it must be provided with proper medical aid.

Behavioral Analysis

These factors are necessary for providing the animal with engaging environmental needs such as interacting with an animal. It is very important to be able to engage the animal with the other activities by bonding with them and involving them in activities such as playing and retreating.

Mental Health

It is a common aspect of animal welfare as animals also have feelings and emotions. If the animal is provided with proper care as mentioned in the above domains then the animal will benefit from comfort, pleasure, and lack of fear.

Animal Welfare Act

In the United States of America, the animal welfare act is important for every animal. It serves the sole purpose of providing protection against animal abuse. In the year 1966 United States has the animal welfare act (AWA) which was brought in by Lyndon B. Johnson.

It was for the protection of animals against their misuse in the entertainment industry or places such as circuses or zoos. It serves as the major legal action to provide animals protection against cruelty. Animal welfare act protects animals against their misuse in any form of work.

What is the Difference Between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare?

The major difference between animal welfare and animal rights is that animal welfare stands for the benefit of animals. Although it also can be traded for the benefit of humans as long the rightful purpose is served.

Animal rights directly advocate that similarly to human beings animals also have feelings and emotions that cannot be looked over for the benefit of others.

Animal welfare states that it is applied to a situation where animals are governed by humans. The farming of animals is a clear example of animal welfare animals are kept or used for human benefit.

It is done if a clear justification is being done to not compensate the animal sacrifice. Animal welfare stands for the betterment of animals but allows their usage for various purposes only if humane measures are taken into consideration.

Whereas, animal right is used for the betterment of the animals. It states that humans have rights that cannot be altered. However, animal rights must have some limitations in order to avoid any conflict.

Animal rights stand against the misuse and mistreatment of animals. These rights protect animals from the purpose of entertainment, food, clothing, and their usage in scientific labs for experimentation.

Animal Welfare Issues of Concern

The misuse of animals occurs when there are no proper guidelines to administer animal wellbeing. An animal should not be used in the entertainment, clothing, and food industries as it destroys the physical and mental health of the animal.

Animal Experimentation

In scientific laboratories, drug testing is done on animals. They are openly mistreated and manhandled to fulfill the testing process. In the United States alone more than 25 million animals every year go through drug testing.

Animals such as guinea pigs, mice, rabbits, bats, and pigs undergo mental and physical stress. Most of these animals never see the light of the day and live most of their lives in cages.

Dealing with Stress

It is the most common form of animal misuse under captivity. Lack of activities and loneliness often results in mental stress and depression, the major cause behind this is boredom.

Animals in zoos are provided with tires, barrels, and artificial surroundings to engage them in activities and provide relief from stress. The artificial environment can never compensate for the benefit of living in a natural environment.

Animal Farming

The large-scale industrial production of animals such as cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep are the most affected species due to animal farming. The animals undergo many painful procedures such as removing tails and cutting chicken beaks. Farming animals live in dark indoor facilities.

Animal Poaching

Uncontrolled & illegal animal hunting in the wilderness is known as animal poaching. The usage of horns and tusks of animals causes poaching which directly affects their population.

It is estimated that almost 3 million animals get caught every year. Mostly for sending to different parts of the world for killing. Animals are kept in cages & transported to different locations and are kept in these conditions until they are killed to fulfill human needs.


Animal welfare is important for animal wellbeing. It does also consider other aspects of benefits for the society. The relationship between animal and humans depend upon the usage of animals by humans.

Animal welfare will improve when it is enforced with strict guidelines. It can help in raising awareness about the conditions animals face in factories, farming, and scientific researches.

Animal welfare has brought people together to provide better living conditions for animals in the future. The continuous debate for the betterment of animals has shown progress towards good living standards for animals.

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