Today, all mammals have rights, not only domestic animals but with their own amendments to the species. The first to worry about animal rights was the British. The beginning can be traced back to the Code for the Protection of Farm Animals, signed in 1641 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. One of the articles of the code says: “No man should practice tyranny or cruelty against any creature of God usually used for the benefit of man.”
The first law to spell out the punishment for cruelty to animals and provide for a financial penalty or two months in prison was passed in 1822 in England, thanks to MP Richard Martin. The law also only applied to farm animals.
As for the compilation of 5 freedoms, this was preceded by an investigation initiated by the British government in 1965, after the scandals raised by the publication of the book “Living Machines” by Ruth Harrison. As a result of the report, recommendations were formulated, which in 1979 were transformed into 5 freedoms and were included in the World Declaration of Animal Rights. To date, most European countries have signed the convention on the protection of pets, and Ukraine was the first of the former USSR countries to sign both the convention and the law.
The five freedoms include:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or illness
- Freedom of natural behaviour
- Freedom from fear and stress
Often the owners love their pets very much and think that they live well. But are all freedoms observed? Let’s take a look at each of the freedoms separately.
Freedom from hunger and thirst
I think this is the simplest rule that most people follow. But it is worth paying attention to the composition of the feed and how balanced the diet is. It happens that even the best food may not be suitable for a dog or a cat, and then it is worth changing it. If the pet is too thin, the profuse molting does not stop all year round, or there is an unpleasant smell from the mouth, it is worth contacting a specialist. Excessive feeding can only harm, since obesity shortens life, so this is not a concern, but harm to a pet.
If a cat or dog is on natural food, then it is also worth making sure that it is balanced and suits your pet. And it is imperative to remove the leftovers and wash the bowls, otherwise natural food and canned food deteriorate after being in a bowl for a long time. Cats generally need to eat often but a little, if a cat loves to eat the whole bowl at a time, then you can use special auto-feeders or intellectual feeding games.
Water should always be available to animals. How much water a dog should drink can be read here . The bowl should also be washed regularly, otherwise bacteria will form there and many animals, especially cats, may refuse to drink from there and lead their body to dehydration. Cats generally like to drink in a different place from where they eat and like running water, so buying a water fountain will encourage your pet to drink enough. At least put the bowl of water away from the bowl of food.
Freedom from discomfort
Even if the dog sleeps in bed, he still needs a place where he will feel comfortable, where no one will touch or punish him. It can be like a bed, crib, hammock or even a cage with a mattress if the dog is comfortable there. Dogs love to sleep on the soft as much as we do. Location is also an important factor. The place of the dog should be in a quiet place with the ability to view the room, but without drafts and not on the aisle where everyone will touch the dog.
It is very important for cats to have vertical surfaces in the house to stay and relax. Never bother a cat on his house – this is his fortress, otherwise, he will simply choose a closet, windowsill or another place where he is not touched.
Freedom from pain, injury or illness
When we take an animal into a family, then we take responsibility for its health. This fact should always be taken into account before deciding to have a pet, as treatment is sometimes very expensive. It is necessary to regularly treat pets from worms; fleas and ticks; do regular vaccinations ; monitor the chair and general condition.
Animals cannot tell us that something hurts or causes discomfort to them, so they show us this is not always so obvious. For example, problems with uncleanliness in the house in both dogs and cats are often associated with health problems. In this case, it is better to contact a veterinarian, get tested and examine the pet. Aggressive reaction to touching in certain places can also be a reaction to pain. Unlike common myth, they do nothing for evil or resentment. Even aggressive behavior sometimes comes from health problems, for example, the thyroid gland.
Freedom of natural behavior
This is a point that is often overlooked or overlooked. What is freedom of natural behavior? This is what each species does.
- The dog needs to walk on the street, even decorative breeds, not only to fulfil the needs there. Dogs that live in private homes need to walk behind a fence, not just on private grounds. At the time of the walk, they not only go to the toilet but also study smells, leave marks for others, so it is worth giving the dog an opportunity to sniff. It is possible to explore new surfaces even in the city, which will enrich their environment.
- Dogs are social creatures and need companionship. If this is a puppy, then only by communicating with other dogs will he learn the etiquette of communicating with other dogs, but of course, it is better to conduct such communication in a proven environment. If your dog only has a couple of friends, let him interact with them. If the dog shows aggression out of fear, then it is better to seek help from a specialist who will help the dog feel confident and not fear.
- The dog needs not only physical but also mental stress. They cannot read a book or watch a movie, but in an apartment or house, without your participation, everything has long been studied and tired. Therefore, it will be good to learn about new teams or play interesting games together.
- It’s no secret that dogs bark is their species-typical behaviour. It makes no sense to punish for this, you need to understand the reasons. This can be both learned behaviour and a signal of stress in the dog.
- Sex drive. If the dog is sexually active, but you are not a breeder or the dog is not intended to improve the breed, then it should be neutered. Otherwise, it also qualifies as cruelty to animals.
- Cats are hunters by nature and have an innate hunting instinct. They need movement and tracking down prey, sometimes their legs or arms suffer here, to which they turn their attention. Therefore, you need to play with them in short sessions every day. Fortunately, toys are now sold a lot, or you can use a bottle cork or candy wrapper.
- Sharpening claws is not only a necessity, since their claws grow all their life like our nails, but also a marking of an important territory for them. To avoid tattered wallpaper and furniture, provide the cat with several scratching posts in the most important places for them.
- Toilet cases. Cats are very clean creatures and it is important for them that a tray is a suitable place for this. There are many features and where it is located, for example, near the washing machine, it may simply be afraid to walk, its size, the height of the sides and more.
- Mental stress. It was only in the 60s that the widespread practice of cats living in apartments began, and before that, they had a lot to do: explore the territory, protect from strangers, catch mice, and in general the day was busy. In no case do I urge you to let cats out on the street, there are many dangers that can greatly shorten their lives! But it is also important to give the cats a mental load. This can be both pieces of training, and cats are perfectly amenable to operant conditioning (i.e. learning without violence or physical influence), and development with the help of intellectual games.
- If a cat or a cat strong sexual desire (eg aiming at home), but at the same time the animal presents no breeding value, it is best neutered/spayed.
Freedom from fear and stress
Do not intentionally stress the animal. And this means: do not beat or punish by force, for example, poke your face into a puddle; use aversive training methods (physical impact); the use of aggressive ammunition, for example, a strict or electric collar; leave alone for a long time; constant exposure to a frightening factor.
What then is to be done?
- Teach only on positive reinforcement.
- Do not use force or physical techniques.
- Understand the root of the problem, not its consequences.
- Do not intimidate or oppress the animal.
- First, create comfortable conditions for living together.
- Provide the necessary resources for physical and mental stress.
- To be consistent and predictable is either always possible or always impossible.
Sometimes, by reviewing the way of life and respect for the rights of the animal, you can already avoid problems in behavior. After all, when a cat or dog feels confident, knows that they have a family they trust and there are no unforeseen stresses, many problems disappear by themselves. As the little prince said – “We are responsible for those whom we have tamed.”
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