“The way to assess the degree of education of a people and a man is the way they treat animals,” This is a well-known phrase of Thomas Edison. Certainly, in civilized countries it is a good that has legislation that fortunately respect and protect animals. Beyond the common sense that tells us what is good for an animal, farm animal or pet, we are privileged in the sense that European legislation is the toughest in the world, at least to what one knows on Animal Welfare
I will try to explain the five principles which the BVA (Britsh veterinary association) is safeguarding animal welfare. So, these are the 5 basic freedoms:
- Absence of hunger and thirst: Unless our veterinarian tells us otherwise, it is very positive to feed our pet three times a day. Normally, behind the sacks of feed usually you can read what you need the animal according to their ideal weight. Your veterinarian will advise you by visual inspection what is the ideal weight of your pet, therefore, it is good to ask them about it. Regarding water, a general rule is that it should always be available and renew it daily at least.
- Adequate environment (shelter, rest, comfort). It is not a very common practice, but it is very positive to create a “refuge” for our pet. We understand refuge, a quiet place, clean and preferably padded where the animal can not be bothered and can only receive positive stimuli with caresses or awards every time They are inside. It is also very positive a silent place and a temperature which they feel comfortable (22ºC). If we create such a “refuge”, the animal whenever it is afraid or stressed, will go there in order to soften the bad feeling.
- Absence of injury or illness. Evidently it is important to visit our veterinarian at the slightest suspicion of disease. It is not worth waiting if you see your pet apathetic or stop eating waiting for miraculous recoveries. Time is money and luckily they do not lie when you see they are pathetic or stop eating.
- Expression of normal behavior. This is fundamental; physical activity, social contact and mental stimulation. In an urban environment, the floors do not usually have the necessary space for physical activity. In the case of a dog should be able to leave a minimum of 30 minutes three times a day as a general rule. We must also provide social contact with other animals and people and try not to leave them alone too long. If we are away from home for work or other reasons for many hours, entrusting someone to keep him company or play with him is a good idea. Finally, activities such as smelling new things, scratching the floor or chewing gives them the optimal mental stimulation for their well-being.
- Absence of pain, fear and stress.There is no ethological indication where the negative reinforcement or pain is justified. Therefore, you should try to avoid punishing the animal and, at the most, to use an informative “no”. To avoid fear or stress we have already indicated the creation of a “refuge” in which they can cushion that sensation, but also, try to avoid the places or things that cause bad feelings is fundamental.
Whatever you think, we remind you to always visit your veterinarian.
MANEL MORCILLO GINER