What rights to freedom do cattle officially have?
In 1979 the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC),
an independent advisory organ of the European Committee,
determined that animals in cattle farming have a right
to the following 5 "freedoms":
- Freedom from hunger and thirst - by ready 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 behavior - 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
How are these minimal rights violated?
Laying hens and fattening chicks
For more information about the living condition of
other farm animals or abuse of animals for consumption,
see this page.
We believe that animals should be treated even better
than the minimum demands listed to the left. Click here for our vision on animal rights.
With pigs these rights are not met when:
- they have to live in the dark almost 24 hours a
day (and only get an hour of light around nine a.m.
- they are castrated without anesthetics;
- they are jammed between two bars so they cannot
turn over or groom themselves;
- they cannot root among the ground;
- they have no resting areas covered with straw,
but a grated floor
- they have to live in the ammonia stench of their
- they are transported to the slaughterhouse under
stressful and violent conditions in trucks.
The site of the Dutch Ministry says:
In total 80% of the pig farms and 58% of the meat pig
farms violate one or more aspects of the pig decree.
There has been a lot of evidence on violations of the
- sow standing space shorter than 2 meters (non-conformance
- too little floor space for piglets
- less than two thirds of a boar stable closed off
- lacking an adequate sick bay (non-conformation 10%)
- keeping pigs in the dark or under insufficient lighting
- lacking an alarm installation for mechanical ventilation
- lacking diversion material (non-conformance 25%)
With cows these rights are not met when:
- calves are taken away from their mothers directly
after birth to be fattened elsewhere. Calves have
served their purpose by being born. The cow's milk
is used for human consumption.
- they have no opportunity to go outside (into a
- they are tied down for entire winters.
The organization Fur
for Animals can explain what is wrong with mink
We have a number of pictures of (small) spaces that are daily practice in free-ranging
See also the proclamation for animal rights and manifesto for farm animals.
With battery-hens the 5 (basic) animals rights are not met, when:
- their beaks are docked;
- chickens cannot roost during their sleep and are
forced to live in a disrupted day/night rhythm so
they will lay more eggs
- are forced to permanently live near members of
their species they want to avoid (pecking order);
- cannot free-range (outside), dig around or take
- are pushed violently into crates for transport,
risking fracture, and transported to the slaughterhouse
in trucks under stressful conditions.