By Mark Hale DVM
I am sure most of you have heard about the tragic circumstances recently discovered for some children and a large group of animals near Pleasant Hope. I do not know any specific details, but the descriptions given by those involved are sickening. Occurrences such as this bring up the issue of animal welfare and how we can ensure that circumstances like this are prevented as much as possible.
Animal welfare, as defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association, "is the ethical responsibility of ensuring animal well-being. Animal well-being is the condition in which animals experience good health, are able to effectively cope with their environment, and are able to express a diversity of species-typical behaviors." Protecting an animal's welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs. To be clear, "animal rights" and "animal welfare" is not the same thing.
There are numerous perspectives on animal welfare that are influenced by a person's values and experiences. Growing up on a farm and working with livestock for several years probably gives me a different perspective on animal welfare than, for instance, a person from
At this time there are various legislative acts concerning animal health/welfare issues in different areas of the country. Some issues concern mandatory spay/neuter of dogs and cats, banning of feline declawing, breeder and kennel licensing or restrictions, and the fighting of dogs. One of the hottest topics of animal legislation at this time is about the legality of horse slaughter in the