Animal Rights VS. Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare

It’s no secret that several human activities use animals for profit, but how they treat animals goes beyond imagination! Most of these creatures go through a painful life just to serve as people’s entertainment, food, clothes, and more.
Nowadays, many people recognize the importance of making these animals’ life comfortable and happy instead of making them suffer. Yet, some practices and living conditions are too cruel to be acceptable!
For that reason, activists fight for animal rights and animal welfare. But most people tend to confuse these terms. Let’s discuss the difference between animal rights vs. animal welfare and why they’re both important!

What Does Animal Welfare Mean?

People who believe in animal welfare recognize that we need animals for certain human activities. That said, they clarify that these animals must be treated humanely and not cruelly so they can have a pain-free life!
So, animal welfare refers to the responsibility of humans to take care of their animals. They’re responsible for the animal’s physical and mental needs. Simply put, they need to make sure the animal is healthy, comfortable, and not suffering from pain, fear, or distress.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, humans need to consider all aspects of animal well-being. They need to guarantee appropriate shelter and handling, disease prevention and treatment, nutrition, and humane euthanasia when necessary.
For more detailed definition of animal welfare.

What are Animal Rights?

People who believe in animal rights forbid the use of animals. They state that animals shouldn’t be treated as things because they have the right to be free from human use. And just like human rights, we should respect animal rights!
Animal rights mean that moral consideration shouldn’t be limited to humans, it should apply to all conscious beings. In other words, we shouldn’t make use of animals just because it can benefit others.

Animal Rights VS. Animal Welfare

Piglets > animal rights vs. animal welfare
People shouldn’t use the terms “animal rights” and “animal welfare” interchangeably because they’re not the same. Although both philosophies care about animals, they have different goals:

  • Animal welfare is a pro-ownership philosophy, while animal rights activists believe that humans shouldn’t own animals.
  • Animal welfare supporters believe that humans can use animals for food, companionship, clothing, entertainment, experiments, and others. On the contrary, animal rights supporters state that using conscious beings is a form of exploitation and it’s morally wrong.
  • Animal welfare supporters seek to eradicate or reduce the suffering of animals and guarantee them a healthy and happy life. In contrast, animal rights activists state that treating them well isn’t enough.

Why are Animal Rights and Animal Welfare Important?

According to PETA, animals feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and motherly love, just like humans do! It’s difficult to imagine how stressful it’s to be separated from your baby, trapped in tiny cages, and suffering from cruel practices. Unfortunately, many animals around the world live like this!
If we want to change this, it’s important to support animal rights and animal welfare.
Although it’s difficult to 100% eradicate the use of animals in human activities, it’s possible to reduce it to a few activities. Consequently, these animals deserve the right to be treated with kindness and respect, instead of being treated as things!
While treating these creatures “well” is open to interpretation, the right to live free from pain and suffering is something people would have to respect. Otherwise, they could face severe consequences for violating animal’s rights!
Below you will find the principles of animal welfare and simple actions you can start today to promote this philosophy!

What are the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare?

The Five Freedoms are standards of care that people must follow to meet the physical and mental needs of the animals under their care. These principles are key to guarantee animal welfare:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: Each animal must have access to fresh water and a diet appropriate for the species and its health condition.
  2. Freedom from Discomfort: The owner must provide the animal with a comfortable shelter and resting area.
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury, or Disease: The owner should check the animal to prevent and treat diseases.
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior: The animal should have enough space and live in similar conditions to its natural habitat.
  5. Freedom from Fear and Distress: The animal should live free from pain, fear, stress, and suffering.

Simple Actions to Promote Animal Welfare

Support Animals: animal rights march
If you want to support animal welfare and forbid cruel practices, you can start by making some changes in your daily decisions. Remember that your actions are votes for a future without animal cruelty! Whether you align with animal welfare or animals, these actions can make a difference for the animals. You can start with these simple but meaningful actions:

  • Donate: Rescue organizations would appreciate funds and supplies to continue with their activities!
  • Volunteer: Contact rescue organizations and shelters to know how you could help them!
  • Foster: If you have the time and space, consider fostering animals in need until they get adopted!
  • Adopt: Adopt a pet from a rescue organization instead of buying one. You will make one animal’s life happier and you won’t be supporting puppy farming!
  • Don’t support cruelty as entertainment: Avoid circuses, marine parks, and other businesses that use animals as entertainment!
  • Support cruelty-free brands: Prefer cosmetics and household products that don’t test on animals!
  • Improve your meals: Reduce your consumption of meat, milk, eggs, and other animal-based foods! Not only is this good for the animals, it is also good for the environment.
  • Inspire others: Teach your children to respect living beings and inspire your neighbors to support animal rights and animal welfare!

Its all about loving animals

Hope you enjoyed this article and now be able to differentiate animal rights and animal welfare. While animal rights and animal welfare are different, at the end of the day it is important to try animals with love and take action if you want to see changes. If you are looking for more information about animal welfare, we have articles that you should definitely check out! The first is all about animal welfare!

“Animal Welfare: What Is It?” American Veterinary Medical Association. Web. 22 Dec. 2020.
“The Five Freedoms for Animals.” Animal Humane Society. Web. 22 Dec. 2020.
“Why Animal Rights?” PETA. 25 June 2020. Web. 22 Dec. 2020.
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!