World Animal Day: Words of Welfare

Posted: 4 October 2022 at 12:16 pm

Today is World Animal Day, a special day to celebrate our love for animals. However, this day isn’t only about celebrating animals. It’s about raising awareness worldwide about the importance of proper animal care and welfare.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (England and Wales), the Welfare of Animals Act 2011 (Northern Ireland) and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 (Scotland) make pet owners legally responsible for their welfare needs. Different animal species have varying needs, but whatever the species, there are five welfare needs they must have met:

Live in a suitable environment

Your pet needs to feel comfortable and content where they are housed. Whether in a tank, cage, outdoors or roaming around the house. They need to be able to get rest, hide and exercise with ease.

Eat a suitable diet

Consider what nutrients your pet needs to keep them healthy and do some research. Think about how much food is appropriate and whether their life stage will impact the type of food they need. It’s also crucial to prevent obesity, malnourishment and other nutritional disorders or problems that stem from them.

Can exhibit normal behaviours

Animals need the freedom to behave in a way that comes naturally to them. For example, dogs require regular walks and exercise. Still, smaller animals such as rabbits or parrots may need access to items they can forage or destroy. Enrichment is essential to keep our pets happy! Playing with toys, socialising with their humans, and in some species, training is all part of building an enjoyable lifestyle for your pet.

Safe housing with, or apart from other animals

Being a responsible owner means understanding what interactions make your pet comfortable. Social species such as rabbits or guinea pigs need to be around their own kind, but others don’t. In some cases, animals of the same species don’t get along or need to be housed separately. Consider how to handle a mixture of animals. For example, a cat and parrot may not be the best match and keeping everyone safe and stress-free is paramount.

Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

If your pet becomes ill or injured, you must get them the help they need. First, register your pet at a suitable veterinary practice and ensure they have had preventable treatments such as vaccinations and parasite control. Then, consider taking them for an annual check-up. The longer you have your pet, the more you will get used to its normal behaviours, and you should seek veterinary advice if you have any concerns.

Animals are an amazing part of our lives, and we should protect them at all costs. Awareness days are the perfect opportunity to evaluate ourselves and share information and insights with others.