WHAT IS GOOD ANIMAL WELFARE?
The concept of animal welfare is based on the individual animal, the type of situation the animal is in, and how the animal experiences its situation. When animals have good welfare, they will thrive. Well-being depends on interactions between health, environment, animal care, and the characteristics of the animal itself.
An often-used explanation of what good animal welfare means is found in the ‘Five Freedoms’ laid out by the Brambell Committee (1965):
Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
Freedom from Discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area in all situations.
Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease: by working towards prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment of sick animals.
Freedom from Fear and Distress: by ensuring that the animal has conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering.
Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind.
So on one hand, we must make ethical assessments, while on the other, we must use facts from research.
Ethics addresses subjective values in relation to animal welfare. We can ask ourselves ‘What would our society consider to be a “good enough” quality of life for animals?’ Another question is ‘How can we specifically understand the concept of “quality of life” for animals?’ How are animals affected by their surroundings and how do they experience their situation? We often try to describe the condition of the individual animal in terms of how it masters the environment in which it lives. The level of welfare is described as the balance between positive and negative experiences. On the basis of such an understanding, we use the following definition of animal welfare:
“Animal welfare is the subjective experience of the individual of its psychological and physical condition as a result of its attempts to master its environment.”
Within biology, ‘mastering’ is defined as the mechanisms used by an individual to maintain control. An animal that displays normal behaviour for its kind, then, shows signs of good physical and psychological health.
Nofence Grazing Technology has been developed with a focus on the well-being of the animals. Therefore, it is vital that you are knowledgeable about goats and take the time to learn how the technology works. Focus areas for achieving good animal welfare by using Nofence are:
- Ensuring that all adult animals have a collar.
- Putting care into becoming well-acquainted with our recommendations.
- Ensuring that the grazing boundaries are understandable to the goats and follow our recommendations for the design of the grazing area.
- Following up on all electric shocks. You should take time to analyse why goats are getting electric shocks and take action. Actively use our online portal my.nofence.no to analyse grazing movements. Are there difficult restrictions, temptations or access to food that is not found in the grazing area, places they want to lie down, or are they just heading towards people? Perhaps a small adjustment to the boundary will be enough? Other causes of multiple electric shocks may be that the neck strap has turned or that the power supply to the collar isn’t working.
- Checking that the equipment is properly fitted to the animal and that it is sitting as it should.
- Watching over the animals with regard to chafing. You should pay close attention if the coat wears away. If the coat is completely worn away, the collar must be removed to avoid open wounds. If an open wound develops, it may be a long time before the goat can wear the collar again. Your vet should be contacted in the event of an open wound.