Animal Welfare Ordinances

There are a wide variety of ideas between the general public and animal professionals on how people should humanely treat their animals.  This is a controversy that is widely debated and questioned when trying to accomplish animal welfare goals. Settings that are institutional that provide intensive confinement have to protect animals from extreme weather and predators as well as provide the animals with fresh water and wholesome food, but people typically do not trust these places to provide animal welfare at the same level that the animals received in the pasture from the past.  Because of this, a lot of resources are spent in the US today to address these concerns, making this the primary focus of animal welfare.

1024x1024Despite how well the animals are cared for in institutional settings and close confinement systems, these places seem very unnatural to those looking in from the outside.  Such places include dog breeding kennels, parks where exotic animals are viewed, zoos, and large farms where a lot of animals live closely together.  These businesses are constantly exploring new practices and approaches in their animal care but, because of how these places appear, critics believe that the welfare of the animals is not good.

With the public being concerned about the institutional settings with potential substandard care of animals, the laws governing these animals have grown tremendously locally, state wide, and in the federal government.  Multiple agencies are being asked to perform inspections on a single business oftentimes because of the increased mount of regulations that have been put into place. The federal government is continuously putting more laws into places that govern commercial dog kennels, laboratory animals, the humane slaughter of animals on a farm, and care for animals in the circus and in zoos around the nations.  Local laws also continue to expand their ordinances in regards to having animals and breeding dogs, as well as a lot of other things that were, in the past, done in a setting that was rural.



What is Animal Welfare?

background-animal-welfareOftentimes, people will use the terms animal rights and animal welfare to mean the same thing, suggesting that the two ideas represent the exact same principles, practices, and concerns.  The differences between these terms are quite significant, though.

To put is simply, animal welfare refers to the relationships we humans have with the Earth’s animals and our duty to assure that those animals that are under our care are treated as responsibly and humanely as possible.

The interest in animal welfare is not something that is a modern idea, despite its popularity in today’s world. At least ten thousand years ago when animals were being domesticated in Neolithic times, people were concerned for the welfare of animals. It was that care for the animals that led to domestication of animals, animal husbandry (breeding and caring for animals), and animal agriculture.  The development of agriculture is considered, by many historians, to be one of the most important human history events.

In the Neolithic era, the animal welfare practices that were formed put people in a position where they were obliged to consider the welfare of their animals in order for their own purposes to be achieved. They began to see how, through taking care of the animals, the animals would in turn take care of them.  Because of this, their own self-interest demanded that they treat their animals well. This exact same ethic is still around today, mostly in places where taking care of animals hand-on happens.  This human-animal bond is a very special relationship.

At Colorado State University, an animal science professor named Dr. Bernard Rollin believes that the technology of the twentieth century broke the ancient contract because it allowed we humans to harm animal’s well being by putting them into environments and to uses that increased their productivity but actually did the animal harm.

This idea is the challenge of today’s world.  We have to be able to provide animal welfare in this nation that is urbanized and technological rather than rural and agricultural.  These days, only about two percent of Americans live on farms, with only half that farming as their primary occupation.  In the 1800’s, ninety percent of people were farmers in America. If we continue to see this trend, concentrated farming will become more the norm, making the welfare of the animal even more critical.