Are you considering becoming a farm animal owner? Have you really thought about it
The animals under your responsibility deserve your best care and should not be the victims of your learning. Moreover, animal husbandry, in a proximity context, involves risks for the animal, its owner and for society. It is therefore essential to initiate a reflection and preparation prior to the acquisition of animals is essential.
The well-being of animals can be presented in the form of 5 freedoms that group together the elements of biological functioning, emotional state and natural life of animals. Through these 5 freedoms, we can ensure animal welfare.
● Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
Access to water and food in
appropriate quantities and
according to their needs.
● Freedom from fear and distress
The conditions must not induce psychological mental suffering.
● Freedom from physical and/or thermal stress
Animals must have a certain physical comfort.
● Freedom from pain, injury and disease
Animals should not be mistreated in any way that could cause them pain or injury and they should be cared for if they become ill.
● Freedom to express normal behaviour
The environment must be adapted to the animals.
To help you make an informed choice about acquiring animals, here are the fundamental questions to consider beforehand:
Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
- Do I know where to get my feed?
- Do I know the daily nutritional requirements of the animals I want to keep?
- Do I have a safe and sufficient water source year-round?
- Do I have a feeder and a drinker?
- Do I have enough feeders/drinkers for the number of animals I will keep?
- Can I budget for feed and know if I can afford it over the lifetime of my animals?
Freedom from fear and distress
- Do I know the signs of distress and fear of the animals I expect to keep?
- Do I know how to act in these situations?
- Am I calm and comfortable around animals?
- Will my animals have to cohabit with others (compatible or incompatible)?
Freedom from physical and/or thermal stress
- Do I have a housing available for my animals?
- Do I have the budget that matches my ambitions?
- Will the housing provide protection for the animals at all times and in all seasons?
- Will I be able to protect my animals from predators?
- Can the housing accommodate all the animals I want?
- Do I have access to equipment that will keep the animals comfortable?
- Is the housing free of materials that could harm my animals?
- Have I inspected the housing to make sure?
Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Do I have access to an animal health professional?
- Do I have a plan of action in case my animals are injured or ill?
- Do I have a place to isolate a sick or injured animal?
- Will I have time to visit my animals at least twice a day, 365 days a year?
- Can I budget for health care (vaccinations, treatments, consultations)?
- What do I plan for the end of life of my animals (when, how, what, who, where)?
Freedom to express normal behaviour
Do I know the natural behaviours of the animals I plan to have?
Can I differentiate normal and abnormal animal behaviour?
Husbandry projects are possible with good preparation. Therefore, consider these elements before rushing headlong into your projects and do not hesitate to call upon animal professionals whether they are animal health/production technicians, agronomists or veterinarians.