Animals like humans have needs which the owners must satisfy for their wellbeing.
Animals are in two groups which include the domestic and wild ones. The domestic animals
which are directly under human supervision and control include the farm animals and the pets
(Islam, 2019). The farm animals which are responsible for food production like cows provide
meat and milk; while the pets act as companions to most lonely people. These animals require
food, shelter, and hygiene necessary for their health and development. Scientists through
research explain the importance of good health, nutrition, and cleanliness in the wellbeing of the
animals. To conclude that animals are healthy, their psychological, behavioral, and physical
health is to be fit. With that in mind, this dissertation will focus on animal welfare by analyzing
various theories and frameworks that explain how proper or inadequate provisions of the animal
needs to influence their physical and psychological behaviors.
2.1 Animal Welfare
2.1.1 What is Animal Welfare?
In the course to understand animal welfare, there are various perspectives that scientists
and animal welfare organizations consider to ensure that the animals are safe in terms of their
nutritional, environmental, and mental health (Stafford & Mellor, 2005). Animals are essential
creatures the same as the humans and therefore deserve right living conditions. The American
Veterinary Medical Association (2019) describes animal welfare as the lifestyle of the animal
and the conditions it resides. Dawkins (2017) also cites that animal welfare is the health of the
farm animals, aquatic, poultry as well as the pet animals under human control and their needs.
Animals have to show nourishment, safety, health, and comfort as signs of their great state of
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 3
well-being. Animals under the poor state of welfare show pain, distress, fear, and are violent as
their defense mechanism. Since it is the humans' responsibility to ensure perfect animal well-
being, they have to provide the animals' physical and psychological needs such as clean shelter,
proper nutrition, vaccines, and treatment if they fall ill. Apart from the excellent living
conditions, people have to give animals adequate slaughter conditions which include giving them
euthanasia in case of severe pain (AVMA, 2019). Animal welfare is an essential component of
their productivity in society and requires the involvement of the majority in the community to
learn the management process of handling them (WOAH, 2008).
2.1.2 Biological School of Thought of Animal Welfare (Physical health and Basic function)
Biological perception explains the underlying problems that the animals may be
experiencing. Using scientific theories in evaluating animal wellbeing will help in determining
animals' psychological health through observation of their physical manners (Cherry 2019). In
studying the animal welfare, the main focus is on the diet, nutrition, and the physical and mental
health of the domestic animals. Animal behavior is dependent on their emotions and thus the fact
that their physical health determines their basic functioning or productivity (Mellor, 2016). The
wellbeing of animals which involves providing them with proper nutrition and pleasant
environment to ensure perfect health and appropriate behaviors are related to their mental health
as well. For instance, if the animals are properly fed with a balanced diet and clean water and
provided with the clean physical environment, they will be fit and healthy thus exhibit good
productive behaviors which will, in turn, bring forth positive mental experiences and vice versa.
Determining good psychological well-being of animals from their satisfaction will be easy. The
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 4
positive psychological outcome will manifest in the animals drinking and taste pleasures,
calmness, excitement in play, and their plentiful productivity (Mellor, 2016).
2.1.3 Five Freedoms
The ASPCA (American Society preventing Cruelty to Animals, 2019) outlines the five
rights of the aquatic, pets, farm animal, and poultry to include freedom to nutrition as they
animals should access food and safe water. Animals’ freedom from discomfort, pain, disease,
fear and distress is the other right of kept animals and finally freedom of expression of the
animals' normal character. The animal freedoms apply to animals under human care but not in
the wild. Mellor (2016) explains that these five freedoms are international principles and are
beneficial for the physical as well as the mental state of animals. Through compliance with the
five freedoms or rights of animals, the owners of the animals learn to manage the basic as well as
the emotional needs of the animals thus positively or negatively affecting animal behavior.
According to the five rights of animals, the owners should ensure that they properly feed their
animals with balanced diets and provide them with clean water as well. By so doing, the animals'
health will be good thus contributing to good milk production in the case of cows. The
environment which includes their playing grounds, in case of pets, should be clean as well as
their sleeping areas to contribute to their wellbeing and vigor. The owners also have to give their
animals the relevant vaccines to prevent ailments; for example, dogs have to get the rabies
vaccine. Taking the animals for treatments when they fall ill is also the responsibility of the
owner as much as it is their right to give them freedom from pain and injury. Creating or
provision of enough space to fit the animals' creativity or play needs to satisfy their
psychological requirements is necessary.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 5
2.1.4 David Fraser (three circles)
David Fraser alongside Dan Weary, Pajor, and Milligan are the scientists behind the three
circles model which seems to evaluate the five freedoms. The four scientists explain that the
health and well-being of animals determine their ethical behaviors. The concepts by the four
experts are the primary health and functioning of the animals, their natural living, and emotional
states of the animals (Elischer, 2014). Fraser (2008) analyses the principles of animal welfare as
he explains that in natural living, the animal owners or caregivers should provide natural
surroundings to the animals or anything similar to meet the psychological needs essential for
developing positive behavior patterns. The caregivers should also learn the biological
functioning and essential health of the animals which include their reproduction needs and
periods, the animals' physical fitness, as well as their natural development through proper
nutrition. By so doing, the animals' owners will be giving the animals their right to food and
clean water, and preventing them from pain, discomfort, diseases, and so on. Elischer (2014) also
explains the third circle in the model which is the emotional position of the animal. Good health
that results from appropriate nutrition and right resting places satisfy the physical needs of the
animals hence leading to happy behaviors evident through their pleasures in eating, drinking, and
calmness (Mellor, 2016). Subjecting the animals to unpleasant situations such as hunger, pain,
and thirst will make the animals psychologically unfit.
2.1.5 Mellor and Green Paper-domains and quality of life
Mellor and Green provide an update to the five freedoms by providing more simplified
five domains that are easier to understand for animal welfare assessment (Mellor, 2007). The
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 6
1994 areas explain four physical as well as functional needs in the life of animals which shows
the relationship of how diet, environs, immediate surroundings influence the animals’ character.
The fifth state is the mental form which explains the outcome of the positive or negative health,
environment, diet and behavioral experiences of the livestock or pets. The five domains model
which is an improvement of the five freedoms aims at minimizing the adverse effects while
maximizing the positive influences or experiences. The first provision explains that proper
nutrition which is the availability of fresh, clean water and a balanced diet is necessary for
minimizing thirst and promoting the eating experience to bring about pleasure for the animals.
The other three provisions of a clean environment, health, and ethical behavior entail increasing
the positive influences and eliminating the negatives to enhance the positive experience of the
Mellor and Green formulation of the Quality of Life (QoL) scaling system as a
motivational tool is essential for finding the balance between the negative and positive
experiences in animals (Webster, 2016). The system which monitors the welfare of animals is
also relevant for the identification and provision of solutions of the end of life problems. The
neutral point of balance by the QoL system is useful as it provides the vital requirements for
setting regulations which are towards the health of the animals. Through the quality of life
system which is essential in determining the decision of the veterinarian to end the life of an
animal or to let it endure the pain during its last stages in life. The QoL also provides the quality
assurance schemes that serve as a basis for ranking the animal standards. Pierce (2013) explains
that the best way to carry out the quality of life assessment is through daily observation of the
behavior of the animal either by checking their body weight, temperature, blood pressure, and
their activity level and recording the changes. Checking on the animal will enable the owner to
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 7
determine the level of pain, distress, or agony the pet or farm animal is experiencing towards the
end of its life.
2.2 Animal Welfare at Production
When considering animal productivity, the focus is mainly on the farm animals which
provide us with meat and milk, eggs, wool, and skin for making other leather products (Grandin,
2015). These animals include cattle, goats, fish, sheep, poultry, and camels. Farmers use
intensive farming methods in their livestock farming to get the most out of them. Herbut (2018)
depicts the implementation of modern technology in the animal production process by most milk
and meat producing companies in the world. The modern industrialized methods have been taken
to maximize efficiency in production while also maximizing on profits (Gregory, 2007). The
concept of animal welfare has become part of the process in the development of modern
techniques such as precision production techniques and the use of modern equipment for
production. However, the greed for more profits results to the inhumane treatment of the animals
towards the creation of the food and other products (Gradin, 2015). The animals are under stress
as they are subject to cruelty, and terrible living conditions due to the misplaced priorities of the
farmers and food outlets.
The growth in the intensification of animal production has facilitated the creation of production
methods that did not take into account the welfare of the animal. There was has a shift towards
more confinement especially for poultry and pigs which was meant to improve efficiency by
maximizing on production per square foot. Additionally, Fraser (2005) points out that the
intensive methods of production and modern equipment violate the ethical views on the
treatment of animals. Bouchard et al. (2008) in the production process, proper animal welfare is
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 8
guided by the framework provided by the Fraser Five Freedoms which highlight the basic needs
of an animal. The animal should live in an environment that is harmonious with its behavioral,
physical and mental needs and they should not be subject to unnecessary pain or distress.
Subjecting animals to proper healthy conditions that involve the provision of appropriate
nutrition and environment to provide a painless experience is essential for the animals as they
grow towards their productivity periods.
2.2.1 Animal Welfare at Slaughter
Drawing from the previous subtopics of this dissertation the focus was on keeping the
animals alive and healthy. At this point, the animals are healthy and fit for consumption hence
the need for slaughtering them. Animal welfare at this level requires the slaughterhouses to
implement measures that minimize the pain and agony of the farm animals before their demise.
The animals have to be healthy for human consumption, and therefore hygiene should be
paramount at the slaughter places. Gradin (2015) outlines that the sites for slaughtering animals
face various problems including inferior methods of killing the animals as they undergo the
distress of painful death, no training for the slaughtering personnel, use of poorly sterile
equipment, and lots of distractions during the butchery process. In the butchering places, the
focus is in the quality of meat provision to the consumers as contaminated meat results in cases
of health. The quality of meat requires the animals to be free of bruises and dents in the bone
structure of the animals. The slaughterhouse should handle the animals in humane ways to
prevent cases of meat wastage which is a loss for the owners as well as the country (Chambers &
Gradin, 2001). The slaughterers need training in handling the animals before killing them to
preserve the quality of the meat and to reduce the number of accidents in the slaughterhouse.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 9
Distress in the animal during the time of death can cause crashes due to movements thus the need
for stunning which makes the animal unconscious before the slaughtering procedure.
In the US, there is federal regulation which acknowledges a humane approach to animal
slaughter is justifiable, warranted and expected by the society. Together with the guideline and
audit procedures developed by North American Meat Institute (NAMI), these regulations provide
regulations and techniques which ensure that the slaughter is carried out humanely and
painlessly. Furthermore, they advance several slaughter methods and animal handling techniques
which are meant to minimize the suffering of the animal (McClelland, 2013). One way of doing
that is stunning, and various stunning methods are used to immobilize the animal to minimize
pain during the slaughtering process. After stunning the animals, it is vital to check them to
ensure that they are not conscious during the time of slaughter. It is essential for the staff to
ensure the animals are not sentient before skinning or dressing commences (EFSA, 2013).
2.3 Animal behavior
Animals’ behavior comprises the way they interact with their surrounding organisms and
the immediate internal and external environments. Since animals cannot communicate verbally
with humans, they produce sounds to send their message to either show their joy or distress. The
animals behave in response to their feelings. Animals’ behaviors include vocalization, running,
jumping, electric prod, and falling which are useful in determining the emotions and message of
animals. The five domains models discussed earlier, explain how animal behavior is dependent
on how the farmer or pet owner provides their needs (Ekesbo, 2018). If the animals get proper
nutrition in clean environments, they tend to grow healthy and behave in ways that prove their
satisfaction and vice versa (Mellor 2007). Since the animals are diverse including the aquatic
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 10
fishes, farm animals, poultry, and pets, they behave differently according to their nature. Some of
the animal behaviors are inborn like the sounds they produce; others are learned from their
immediate environments, or influenced by the animal experiences. Animals also have
reproductive practices like using music to attract their spouses during mating.
Through observation, human beings can observe the perceived behavior of animals and
understand their interaction with their environment. Furthermore, animal handlers control and
interact with animals based on their behavior and responses. Therefore, animal behavior is
crucial to understanding the animal and determining measures to take to improve their welfare.
2.31Types of Animal behavior
Craney (2018) describes the study of animal behavior as ethology which comprises of the
learned, abnormal and instinct related characters. The first behavior is the learned ones. Learning
of attitude is prevalent in dog and cat pets as well as army dogs. They animal holders teach the
animals to anticipate an action through trial and error until it becomes a habit. Craney (2018)
describes the training as conditioning of the animal's brain to get used to the activities before and
after the perceived action. For instance, a dog owner training the dog to catch a ball when you
throw it up and it follows. The dog will eventually learn the throw ball game and play it better
than its handler. Savastano et al., (2003) gives further examples of training a dog to be still in
case of operation more so in the army. Apart from learning through training, the young ones of
the wild animals learn through observing the parents of how to hunt and kill for food. The next
behavior that animals portray is instinctive behavior. The animals' ability to act on instincts is an
inborn character which compels them to move whenever they hear or feel a fixed action or
sound. The animals do not learn to work on abilities but come automatically because of their
ANIMAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOR 11
innate nature. For example, the nesting of a bird when laying eggs or a dog chasing down a
squirrel as prey, the tendency of a cow to run when being handled and many others. This type of
behavior is referred to as a fixed action pattern as the animal will tend to follow the same
sequence of actions when presented with similar circumstances. Bolhuis & Giraldeau, (2005)
explain that even though the behavior is inborn, it can change due to substantial external factors
such as emotional experiences and what the animal has learned. The instinctive reaction of a cow
to move away from perceived danger is through fear; the instinct of a dog to run and catch a ball
is driven by a motivation to play. If the result of such a goal is positive, an animal will be
motivated to act in a manner that will result in the achievement of that goal. Such behavior can
be explained in three steps; goal searching, actions geared towards the completion of the purpose
and a relaxing mood after the goal being attained.
Another animal behavior is stereotypical behavior which is the repetitive pattern of action
without an apparent reason. Stereotypical behavior manifest because of frustrations that the
animals may be experiencing in the form of rocking, excessive sleeping patterns, pacing up and
down, or swimming in endless circles (Cannon et al., 2016). The animals start being
stereotypical because of the attempt to cope with the changing situation which is an excellent
example of how stress alters the character of animals. Last but not least is the annoying behavior
of animals. For instance, a dog continuously barks regardless of what its handler does shows
distress, discomfort, or the existence of a problem around the surroundings. The abnormal
actions of animals are useful as they will help the owner to know their state of mind and do away
with them in case they became dangerous to the handlers or self.
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