Animals are reared for different goods and services they offer to human beings. They provide food and other products, offer services like draught, companionship, and security on the farm.
However, those who rear animals sometimes are only interested in what the animals have to offer and forget that the animals too need to be taken good care of. The idea of animal freedoms is relevant to our context in Tanzania and Africa for it provides for measures of welfare for the animals that we keep and guides on the practices that support good welfare practices.
Often, on village and town roads, the sight of animals overworked and mistreated can’t be missed. It is common to see donkeys pulling overloaded carts, while the owners continuously wipe them to move faster. Treat your animals well and they will offer good and stress-free service.
Freedom from hunger and thirst
Animals need food to nourish their bodies, grow, breed and have the energy to perform tasks on the farm and produce whatever they are reared for. Do not let your animals scavenge be they pets or livestock. Provide balanced nutrition and where grazing fields are available; give supplemental concentrates to take care of nutrients that may not be available in the pastures.
Water is needed for all life processes. Water should be accessible at all times. It should be clean and the drinking equipment should also be clean. Let the animals drink as much as they need. Note that temperature affects the intake of water, hence; make sure the water is of the right temperature. For example, cows like their water at between 15°C and 17°C.
Freedom from discomfort
This is achieved through the provision of spacious, clean, and comfortable housing shelter. Many farmers leave their animals outside exposed to the elements that include rain, cold and sun-heat. This should not be the case. Construct simple but comfortable housing for your animals. For comfort include dry and soft bedding such as straw or sawdust.
Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
Do all it takes to prevent injuries to your animals and where this happens then provide the necessary veterinary care. Negligence on the part of the animal owner subjects animals to undue suffering. There is a common notion that animals do not feel pain. They do! Do not whip your animals. Find ways to communicate with them and train them specific responses to specific conditions. Donkeys and other draught animals suffer the most under the hands of bad people who have low regard for animals. Such animals end by being aggressive and may even harm people or other animals. Diagnose and treat injuries and disease, and always engage in preventive measures like control of disease-causing pests.
Freedom to express normal behavior
Animals exhibit social behaviors as human beings do. Do not confine or isolate animals and deny them opportunities to relate with other animals, usually of the same species. They like to associate with their kind. If you isolate them, then they become lonely, stressed, and sometimes aggressive. Make sure you provide sufficient space that allows for such interactions.
Freedom from fear and distress
Bad conditions on the farm make animals stressed, restless and bring about mental suffering. The overall outlook condition of the animals determines whether they enjoy farm life or endure from day to day. One way to animals of stress is to provide them with time to bask and enjoy sunshine, fresh air, and movement in designated spaces. You notice that they like such freedom as they jump around playfully.