In our effort to continue the pursuit of animal welfare, we decided to enlist Kevin Kurbis about the 5 Freedoms, which has been used as a guideline for many producers around the world.
A Brief History
5 Freedoms started back when the UK government in 1965, decided there needed to be a protocol for the welfare of animals. The Farm Animal Welfare Council then tweaked these 5 freedoms in the 70's.
The Five Freedoms
These freedoms have become a primary measuring tool, a checklist of required steps to maintain good animal welfare. We are farmers, producers, and the like; we have a responsibility to educate how we are caring for our animals.
In this series, we are covering: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst, Freedom from Discomfort, Freedom from Pain and Injury, Freedom to Express Normal Behavior, Freedom from Fear and Distress.
Freedom from Fear and Distress
This freedom means to ensure conditions and treatments to avoid mental suffering. The New Standard team gets this common question: "How can you tell if the animal is not mentally well?"
"Well, this is easy to tell," states Kevin. "The New Standard team, in our build loose sow buildings, can walk around without animals fussing. They are not jumpy, agitated."
If animals are that way and are aggressive towards each other, then producers know their animal's mental state is not well.
New Standard appreciates the design of the Nedap System ESF. It's designed to protect them with a hallway that closes off from the sides and behind to ensure safe eating.
This ESF system allows them to eat at their own pace without feeling rushed or fighting for food.
The design of the forward exit is crucial. This allows the animal, once finished with eating, to be reacquainted with the group and pushed back into the barn system. This helps to eliminate the fighting and aggression for food within the animals.
The design of having an animal back out of the feeding area goes against the nature of the animal. It creates fear and distress with the animals, and fighting and aggression can ignite. Kevin states, "Imagine eating the driest piece of bread (without the use of proper water to feed ratio), then having to back your chair up into a crowd that is trying to get in." This analogy puts into perspective the issues with backward exits in a feeding system.
In New Standard's forward exit style feeding systems, the animal can eat calmly. With the design of our barns, the animal has the freedom to do what it needs to do.
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