Thursday, April 4, 2019

Animal Care Policies and Standard

Animal Care Guidelines

         Animal Care. The basics such as providing food, water and a roof seem pretty obvious, and simple. What more could you need to know, isn't that all of it? Basically, yes, but also no. Animal care also relates to the mental health of your pet, not just the physical health, and just like with Animal Welfare, they have rights and basic decencies, and that means going more in-depth with just what they need. Whether you keep your pet, such as a dog or cat, in your home free roaming, a small animal such as a rabbit or a gerbil in a cage, or even horses and cows on a farm, there is a lot more to animal care than you might think. In this article we'll cover Care Guidelines, and also the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare's Five Freedoms, or the "Golden Standard" of animal care. By the end of this article you'll understand just what animal care means, and be able to measure the level of which you're currently providing for your pet, and where you can improve for a better life for them, something we love, and something we have to do if we expect to provide them, and to engage ourselves with, a good life.

Animal Care Guidelines Policy

 This section outlines the basic care policies for animals, and relates to professional facilities as well as to individual owners. It will cover housing/caging requirements, food and water, and the environment you provide. Bear with me, even if these things may seem obvious, you'd be surprised what you, or someone else, may not be aware of, but really should be.

Housing or Caging:
All caging or housing systems should give animals adequate space for the number of animals it provides for, allowing for freedom of movement, normal posture position(i.e. not forcing them to be cramped up or in odd body positions in order to fit) and include an appropriate resting place for the housed species. Special accommodations may be necessary for unusual species, such as reptiles, those with unique metabolic or genetic characteristics, or special behavioral needs. Other considerations include the security of enclosures addressing safety, fear, and stress of animals; easy access to food and water; biological needs such as maintaining appropriate body temperatures, allowing space for bathroom needs, timely waste removal and preventing unnecessary production, a big issue in today's society overrun with more animals than we can properly provide for as a society; avoiding unnecessary physical restraint(i.e chaining or unable to move); and allowing animals to engage in normal species behavior. If animals are housed outdoors, they should have access to shelter from the elements, the housing system should allow easy inspection of the animal(s) and easy access to maintain feeding and watering requirements. All cages and housing should be repaired as necessary to prevent injury, maintain their physical comfort, and allow sanitation and servicing. Rough or uncoated wire flooring should be avoided, as it can cause foot and skin trauma, and you should also attempt to maximize separation between spaces for resting, bathroom and food/water needs. Speaking of, our next section addresses food and water.

Food and Water:
Animals should be fed edible and nutritionally adequate food daily, according to their needs and in amounts sufficient to provide normal growth and maintenance of normal body weight. They should have access to fresh. potable, uncontaminated drinking water, and watering devices such as automatic waterers and bottles should be examined regularly to ensure they work properly and are clean. Food and water should never be withheld, except at a veterinarian's instructions such as a health or surgery reason.

Temperature, humidity, ventilation and lighting should be adjusted appropriately for the specific needs of the housed animal species. If climatic conditions pose a threat to an animals health, you should take measures to improve conditions for them as soon as possible. Noise activities that cause undue stress on an animal should be minimized as much as possible, or the animal relocated to an area of your home to minimize and relieve stress. If animals are housed together, consider and observe behavior and social interactions to make sure there is no fighting or harm caused to the animals. Provide species appropriate environmental enrichment such as toys, and opportunities for play and other enrichment, as well as human interaction, on a regular basis. 

Pet Care Golden Standard

     The Pet Care Golden Standard is provided by the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, and is the base of animal welfare/care and outlines pet rights. Termed "The Five Freedoms", it provides education for owners and humanity alike of our responsibility to animals. We have a duty to not just our pets, but all living beings, to ensure none suffer unnecessarily in their life, and this includes reporting inhumane situations we observe others being subjected to by notifying the proper authorities of abuse or neglect we see. The "Five Freedoms" we originally developed in 1965, and was an effort by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council to address concerns about livestock treatment, but quickly became the standard for all animals, and an assessment tool for rescues and shelters of an animal's physical and mental state. The following is an outline of those Five Freedoms and what they mean.

Freedom From Hunger and Thirst:
Seems pretty self-explanatory right? It's also a standard for human welfare, unsurprisingly. This is a basic "duh" of animal care, but this standard takes it a step further. It states "Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and food to maintain full health and vigor." This means not over or underfeeding our pet, and making sure they're receiving every nutrient they need. Human food is not an acceptable diet for your pet and can even pose a danger to their health. A simple talk with your vet can determine just what your pet's dietary needs are to maximize the years, and health of your pet. It is also important to clean their food and water bowls on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Freedom from Discomfort:
By providing an appropriate environment, including shelter from weather and a comfortable resting place, you provide your pet with this care standard. While keeping your pet outdoors all the time isn't recommended, or the best option, you must at least provide them a place that protects them from extreme weather and predators, and along with providing the other freedoms, some pets can still have a comfortable and fulfilling life outdoors. If indoors, a nice, soft bed, either yours or their own, fulfills this standard.

Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease
Either by prevention, or fast vet care for diagnosis and treatment, our pets have a right to be as free of pain and sickness as possible, just like us. Regular vaccinations and check-ups with your vet can prevent, or at least provide early detection of, many health issues and provide options for treatment. By waiting to consult your vet with concerns, you could cause unnecessary harm to your pet or severely risk their health.

Freedom to express normal behavior:
This is very important, but all to often unintentionally overlooked. Unfortunately, this can cause serious issues, and even lead to rehoming of your pet due to behavioral issues that arise from overlooking it. All pets need proper space to have freedom of movement, facilities adequate to provide their needs, and interaction with other animals of their own kind. It is critical that they have these opportunities, and enrichment for their minds and bodies as well. In the case of animals that show aggression to other animals, they still need daily human interaction and companionship.

Freedom from Fear and Distress:
This means ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering for your pet. While our pets don't communicate with the same language we do, they do still communicate in their own way through body language and the sounds they make. By observing your pet, you can learn everything they say and the emotions they are expressing, and how they show it. You can often easily tell when your pet is stressed or afraid, and should take measures to work with them or avoid what makes them feel that way as much as possible. It will make worlds of difference to their behavior and quality of life! Something as simple as keeping your voice low around your timid dog, or taking time to make new positive associations with a dog who's afraid of something(i.e a car, bath's, certain places) using rewards and understanding more than correction methods can increase their confidence and mental well-being.

        The Five Freedoms are the care standard for animals, but really, is it so different from the human standard? Animals are not humans, but they ARE sentient beings who share this earth with us and, like us, have complex brains and feelings, and their own language, but deserve no less respect and humane treatment than we have set for ourselves as humans. They deserve a safe, healthy, and happy life, and they have shorter lives to experience that, so it is our job to make sure they do.

       Thank you for taking time to read our blog, and I hope you have learned a lot from this article. Please also take the time to read your state's law's regarding animal care, and the punishments for failing to do so. Our next article will be on the Emergency of Horses and Slaughter.

No comments:

Post a Comment