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Understanding Animal Welfare: Promoting Compassion and Responsibility

November 6, 2023 Dr Katy Miller DVM, CVFT, CVNAN, CPFFCP, CPCQI

Animal welfare is an important concept that reflects people’s responsibility to ensure the well-being and humane treatment of animals. BSM Partners believes animal welfare is an important topic in the pet care industry. In an industry that makes products for pets, one looks to make safe, effective products that may require some animal testing, such as digestibility, AAFCO testing, and palatability testing of products, so animal welfare is of paramount importance. It encompasses various aspects, including physical health, mental well-being, and the ability to exhibit natural behaviors. With the growing awareness and concern for the welfare of animals, it is crucial to understand what animal welfare means and why it matters. To help address the need for delivering safe and tasty products, while providing the best quality of life to pets, BSM Partners has developed for the industry an option to have AAFCO feeding trials for adult maintenance pet foods and digestibility studies in-home.

Defining Animal Welfare: 

Animal welfare refers to the quality of life experienced by animals and the conditions in which they are kept. It acknowledges that animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, suffering, and joy. Animal welfare is not just about preventing cruelty; it also emphasizes providing animals with appropriate care, shelter, nutrition, and the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors.

One way that we have developed that ensures animals are in good welfare states are to ensure that their needs are being met by what is known as the “Five Freedoms”.1 The "Five Freedoms" of animal welfare were first proposed in 1965 by the UK Government's Brambell Committee.2 These five essential freedoms outline the basic standards necessary to ensure the welfare of animals under human care. Over time, these principles have become widely recognized and are frequently used as a framework to assess and improve animal welfare standards. The "Five Freedoms" are:

Why Animal Welfare Matters:

Some real-life examples of animal welfare practices:

Animal welfare is an important aspect of creating a compassionate and responsible society. By considering the needs and well-being of animals, we not only fulfill our ethical obligations but also contribute to a healthier environment and promote a more sustainable future. By adopting responsible practices and advocating for change, we can ensure that animals are treated with the compassion and dignity they deserve. Together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of animals and create a world where their welfare is a priority.


  1. Elischer, Melissa. “The Five Freedoms: A History Lesson in Animal Care and Welfare - 4-H Animal Science.” 4-H Animal Science, 6 Sept. 2019, https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/an_animal_welfare_history_lesson_on_the_five_freedoms.
  2. Brambell Committee Report. Command Papers of the United Kingdom Parliament. Command Paper No. 2836. (1965)
  3. Shread, Nick. “The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare | SPANA.” SPANA, 15 Sept. 2021, https://spana.org/blog/the-five-freedoms-of-animal-welfare/.
  4. “Five Freedoms for Horse Health and Welfare | MSD Animal Health HUB.” MSD Animal Health HUB, 11 July 2018, https://www.msd-animal-health-hub.co.uk/Healthy-Horses/Health/FiveFreedoms.
  5. “The Five Freedoms for Animals | Animal Humane Society.” Animal Humane Society, https://www.facebook.com/animalhumanesociety/, https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/health/five-freedoms-animals#:~:text=The%20Five%20Freedoms%20ensure%20that,be%20specific%20to%20the%20animal. Accessed 30 Oct. 2023.

About the author: Dr. Katy Miller works as the Director of Veterinary Services at BSM Partners. She previously served for 11 years as the Director of Dog and Cat Health and Nutrition for Mud Bay, prior to which she practiced general and emergency medicine for 7 years. She is also a competitive 3-day eventer, licensed falconer, and claims only 3 (2 Goldens and Mini Doxie) of their ten dogs.

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