“Five Freedoms” is a core concept in animal welfare, that we consider as most important at our (captive) project in S.A. It is a standard for the right to freedom for animals, born and kept in captivity, whether domestic or wild.
According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the 5 freedoms are as follows:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst – by providing access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour;
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area;
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment;
- Freedom to express normal (natural!) behaviour – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind(!);
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
Having companions (of the same kind!!) is just as important to a (big) cat as large amount of land are, so having additional cats in enclosures or large habitat is important, even if claimed a species is solitary (in the wild). To have no conflicts in natural behaviour the company must be of the same kind (species).
Having companion instead of a a lonely-lock-up is a number one issue for nearly all zoos and sanctuaries, as they usually do not understand what it takes to get multiple cats live together in harmony and to have successful introductions, not (just) for breeding purposes.
Before you support any kind of captive facility, make sure they are honoring the above mentioned, and that they give the “Five Freedoms” to the animals, as true Freedom is more of a fairy tale than reality these days!!!!