Second Chance: Animal Freedoms on Independence Day

Second Chance: Animal Freedoms on Independence Day

Freedom and Independence take on various meaning throughout the U.S. the week of July 4. For this week’s Pet Column, I would like to draw your attention to the “Five Freedoms” for all domesticated animals. As animals become more integrated into the culture and lives of humanity it is important to recognize the similarities of our struggles.

The original “Five Freedoms” were written in 1965 after the British government (way to throw down more freedom Brit’s!) reviewed animal welfare of farm animals in intensive husbandry systems. The “Freedoms” were based on the notion that “any animal kept by man must at least be protected from unnecessary suffering.” 


At that time, the five freedoms were limited to:  the freedom to “stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves, and stretch their limbs.” 

Now they read as:

1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – By ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.

2. Freedom from Discomfort – By providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – By prevention and by rapid diagnosis and treatment.

4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior – By providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind.

5. Freedom from Fear and Distress – By ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

In 1993, the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council expanded the five freedoms to more broadly address an animal’s state of well-being, rather than just define acceptable terms of confinement. And although the Five Freedoms are considered animal husbandry guidelines, they are being applied to any assessment of an animal’s wellbeing – including animals being kept as pets. For example, if you’re wondering whether it’s appropriate for a dog to live on a 10-foot chain isolated from his family, review the five freedoms and you’ll find your answer.

The “Five Freedoms” succinctly set forth the very basic requirements for an animal’s well-being.  Meeting all five freedoms, all the time and for every single animal, is still not a reality for thousands of animals within farms, breeding facilities, and even under-resourced animal shelters. For example, within many “puppy mill” facilities, breeding dogs and litters enjoy none of the Five Freedoms.

So please join me and Second Chance Humane Society this Independence Week in celebrating and promoting Freedom for all animals.

My name is Regal. I am a beautiful, medium-hair. one-year-young cat here at Second Chance. When I first arrived I wouldn’t let anyone touch me until I learned the freedom of trust. Now I love human contact!  I get along great with other cats too and am super adoptable.

I am looking forward to the independence of having a new home and family I can freely love for a lifetime!

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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