Defining Animal Welfare

SEY bases its definition of animal welfare on the following definition by the Companion and Hobby Animal Welfare Council:

”Welfare is the animal’s experience on its mental and physical state.  The concept of animal welfare describes an animal’s well-being, varying from good to bad. An animal’s welfare is affected by the animal’s ability to adapt to developments and conditions in its environment. If adaptation is not possible, or if it causes the animal constant or intense stress, strain or pathological changes, the welfare of the animal is reduced. Animal welfare can be affected by conditions of husbandry, treatment, care and breeding.”

The council views animal welfare through three rights and states that:

“Animals are sensitive beings, thus they can justifiably be claimed to have rights. Rights mean that people have duties towards animals. The animal rights concern, for example, securing their well-being: thus, animals have the right to be treated in a way that supports their well-being. People have a duty that corresponds to this right. Rights can be negative or positive. The negative ones refer to the right to not to be disturbed or hindered by others, and in turn, the positive rights entitle to support and help. In this context, the use of the word ‘right’ obligates those dealing with animals.”

This definition given by the Companion and Hobby Animal Welfare Council applies to various companion and hobby animals. The view of SEY is that the same definition of well-being applies also to other animals looked after by people.

Photo: Jouko Torssonen

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