Down on the farm

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, August/September 1996:

WELLINGTON, N.Z.––Farm animals
have no right to freedom from discomfort, disease,
injury, or pain, say the Federated Farmers of New
Expecting the Animal Welfare Advisory
Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture to soon publish
a proposed code governing the treatment of farm
animals, the Federated Farmers’ annual conference on
June 16 moved quickly to undo a 1988 endorsement
of “five freedoms” for farm animals propounded by
the Farm Animal Welfare Council of Britain.

The “five freedoms” included:
Freedom from malnutrition: diet should be
sufficient in both quality and quantity to promote normal
health and vigor; Freedom from thermal or physical
discomfort: the environment should be neither too
hot nor too cold nor impair normal rest and activity;
Freedom from injury and disease: the husbandry system
should minimize the risk of injury and disease,
and any cases that do occur should be recognized and
treated without delay; Freedom to express most normal,
socially acceptable patterns of behavior; and
Freedom from fear.
Federated Farmers conference delegate
Martin Wallace, of Waikato, moved that the group
strike the second freedom, from discomfort, because
it might be exploited “by somebody extreme. Most of
the animals that we farm at some time aren’t comfortable,”
Wallace said.
Wallace also moved that the third freedom,
from disease, should be stricken. “If we carry on
making policies with these,” he told fellow farmers,
“maybe we’re just making a rod for our own backs.”
Both motions easily carried.

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