A brief look at the Brambell Report & the Five Freedoms

After the release of a book called Animal Machines - the New Factory Farming Industry by Ruth Harrison in 1964, British Parliament set up the Brambell Enquiry to address the public's concerns regarding animal welfare.

"Examine the conditions in which livestock are kept under systems of intensive husbandry and to advise whether standards ought to be set in the interests of welfare, and if so what they should be." Brambell, 1965.

The Brambell report was devised in 1965 and was very influential in terms of animal welfare awareness.

The report stated that some of the intensive livestock practices should be banned by law such as keeping poultry on slats or wire and tethering sows. Standards for other ways of farming were advised such as giving enough space to animals. They

advised that animals should be able to get up, lie down, turn around, stretch their legs and move around without difficulty.

The Brambell Report is responsible for the "Five Freedoms", which are a framework to analyse animal welfare.

The Five Freedoms

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst. In a practical sense, you should make sure that animals in your care have enough access to freshwater, a good diet that is nutritious and natural for their species.

  2. Freedom for discomfort. Ask yourself, do your animals have protection from the weather, adequate shelter, a safe, comfortable bed to lie down comfortably? Do they have a place to get away from rain and bad weather or the heat of the sun and flies on a hot day? Even pets kept indoors who are left alone are sensitive to temperature. If the heating is left on, do they have somewhere they can go to keep cool? It is about seeing the situation from the animals perspective to ensure the best welfare in all settings.

  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease. It is important that you take steps to prevent disease occurring, such as anthelmintics to prevent parasites etc. It is also important that animals receive rapid diagnosis and treatment for any injuries or illnesses they have.

  4. Freedom to express natural behaviours. Herd animals and animals who are social need company. Ensuring that animals have enough space, exercise and mental stimulation for their species are important for their welfare.

  5. Freedom from fear and distress. It is important to the animal that they are not taken away from their mothers too young and have learned to socialise. It is also important that any treatments or environments they experience are not going to cause too much stress.