Five freedoms

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This article is about animal welfare. For use in relation to the US constitution, see First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The five freedoms, sometimes known as Brambell's five freedoms, are a compact of rights for animals under human control, including those intended for food or which act as working animals. The five freedoms were originally developed from a UK Government report on livestock husbandry in 1965.[1] The five freedoms are used as the basis for the actions of professional groups, including veterinarians[2] and have been adopted by representative groups internationally including the World Organisation for Animal Health[3] and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[4]

Current compact[edit]

The five freedoms as currently expressed are:[1]

  1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering


In 1965, the UK government commissioned an investigation, led by Professor Roger Brambell, into the welfare of intensively farmed animals, partly in response to concerns raised in Ruth Harrison's 1964 book, Animal Machines. The Brambell Report stated that animals should have the freedom to "stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs".[1] This short recommendation became known as Brambell's Five Freedoms.

As a result of the report, the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee was created to monitor the livestock production sector. In July 1979, this was replaced by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and by the end of that year, the five freedoms had been codified into the recognisable list format.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Five freedoms". Farm Animal Welfare Committee. 
  2. ^ "Code of Good Veterinary Practice" (PDF). Federation of Veterinarians of Europe. 
  3. ^ "Introduction to the recommendations for animal welfare". World Organisation for Animal Health. 
  4. ^ "Animal welfare worldwide". RSPCA. 
  5. ^ "Press Statement" (PDF). Farm Animal Welfare Council. 1979-12-05.