24/7 ANIMAL WELFARE

24/7 Animal Welfare, a concept that is concerned with providing good and positive animal welfare for animals in captivity, 24/7 across the lifespan.

Humans are an inevitable part of the lives of all captive animals, be they zoo-housed, companion, working, laboratory or farmed animals. The premise of the 24/7 animal welfare concept is to consider, map out and research whether the needs and wants of the individual animals under human care are being met, 24/7 across the lifespan.

POSITIVE ANIMAL WELFARE

Animals are everywhere. In nature, in zoos, in research laboratories, on farms, in people's homes, on the streets, in so many different environments and settings, wild and captive.

An animal is an individual, and he or she cares how life is lived. Just like humans, other animals want to have a safe, fun, interesting, challenging, and comfortable life, preferably avoiding negative experiences. The type and frequency of positive and negative experiences is going to depend on many factors, and what choices and control animals have, wild or captive, and how individual animals perceive their world. Mice, rats, pigeons, chickens, cows, horses, marmosets, lizards, rays, frogs, tigers, elephants, dolphins, you name the species, all individual animals, no matter where, care about what happens to them.

It is our challenge as animal advocates to try to understand the animals we care for. We for example study the sensory and cognitive world (umwelt) of species in order to interpret their behaviour, understand their needs and assess and improve their welfare. Research on a wide variety of animal welfare topics should be conducted in all captive settings to contribute to the understanding of what animals need and want. Research on their behaviour, social life, nutrition, habitat as well as environmental enrichment, training and the human-animal interaction is important to make science-based and ethical decisions in favour of the animals.

The focus should not be only on avoiding negative states, but very much on focusing on positive animal welfare. Trying to understand what another being might be experiencing is challenging, and as Dr. Lori Gruen writes in her book Entangled Empathy, not easy. "Entangled empathy is not something we can engage in without critical attention, practice, and correction. I think it is wise to add a good dose of humility to the process of empathizing and the actions that spring from it. In other words, entangled empathy requites work; in that work, however, lie great rewards."

AnimalConcepts is about pursuing high quality care for captive animals in human care, with a focus on positive animal welfare.