The 5 domains of animal welfare include even mental state
The transition from thoughts and discourses to practical applications of measures with the potential to promote animal welfare took a long time to occur, it was only after 1965, as a result of the work carried out by the Brambell Committee, which proposed some criteria on how this could be done. to be made.
Since then, there has been a great development in the science of animal welfare, which resulted in the development of animal protection legislationrecommendations of good animal welfare practices applied to farm animals and the implementation of educational actions, involving the teaching of animal welfare in universities and in the training of producers and people in charge of livestock.
This was stated by various Brazilian lecturers during the V International Meeting of Animal Welfare Researchersheld at the end of last year in Montevideo (Uruguay), where they indicated that these actions were initially based on the principles of the Five Freedoms, first defined by the Brambell Committee and later reformulated by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, which focused on preventing unnecessary suffering and meeting the needs of animals, without considering positive states when assessing animal welfare.
This was then revised by the Five Domains of Animal Welfare proposal, which leads to the concept of A Life Worth Living, taking into account both positive and negative states by considering four functional domains (nutrition, health, environment and behavior) and a mental domain (state of mind).
Thus, the state of well-being of an animal depends directly on the interrelation between these domains, since changes in one of them have direct or indirect implications for the others, and a life worth living implies a positive balance in the state of welfare of an animal when faced with the conditions in which it lives and dies. (Read: Animal welfare, a cross-cutting issue in livestock production)
This concept is strengthened when considering the inseparability of the positive and negative states inherent in the life of animals and the importance of certain negative states for the survival and preservation of their physical and mental integrity. This refers to the need to reflect from an evolutionary perspective on the role of negative sensations and mental states that favor the physical fitness of the individual who experiences them.
“Certainly there is still much to be done in understanding the implications of the inseparability of positive and negative states when evaluating animal welfare, one of these limitations is finding a way to carry out evaluations that allow defining the appropriate balance between them, in order to identify what is ‘a life worth living’. Without a doubt, the adoption of the concept of the Five Domains of animal welfare is an important step in this direction, which can be characterized as an evolution in the science of animal welfare”.
all a compromise
Meanwhile, the swine production consultant, the Mexican Óscar Fernando Huerta Alva, recalled in an article on the portal porcicultura.com that heThe five domains model was proposed by Mellor & Reid (1994) and originally developed to assess participation in animal welfare, which facilitates the recording of positive experiences that can improve it.
In its original configuration, the model proposed a systematic method for determine trade-offs in four physical/functional domains (nutrition, environment, health, behavior); and in a psychological domain, which reflects the general state of well-being and experience of the animal.
This model extends the utility by facilitating a systematic and structured assessment of the positive and negative effects associated with well-being, the conditions that cause them, and the possible interactions between the two types of effects. (Read: Animal welfare: an ethical but also an economic issue)
The main advantage of the model is that it contributes to a systematic and structured assessment of well-being based on the current understanding of the functional basis of subjective, negative and positive experiences that animals can have. It is important to distinguish between these experiences, collectively called mental states or affects, and the states of well-being to which they contribute.
In the context of participation in wellness, the first four areas focus on the internal physiological and pathophysiological changes related to dietary, environmental and health factors. Challenges (domains 1–3) and external physical, biotic, and social conditions in the animal’s environment, which may limit its ability to express various behaviors or present significant challenges (domain).
After evaluating such internal and external factors, their intended affective consequences are assigned to the fifth category, namely “psychological”, and it is these experiences that determine the welfare state of the animal.
There are several potential areas of overlap between domains. Environmental influences are identified for both the environment domain and the behavior domain. Internal affect generation, associated with domain 2 effects (for example: hearing problems due to loud noises), does not represent a significant component of cognitive assessment, while most of the effects of level factors (domain 5 ) for example, fear, when a loud noise is interpreted as a threat, specifically affects the behavior of the animal.
Expanding the range of negative affective states observed in the Five Domains Model, in 1994 they were limited to thirst, hunger, anxiety, fear, pain, and distress, reflecting those included in the Five Freedoms concept, developed in 1979. Later, Attention was paid to expanding this list to clarify what additional specific effects can be included in the generic term ‘distress’, which beneficially focused attention on a much broader range of possible negative impacts that need to be considered to give further depth to the Well-being assessments, conducted using the Five Domains Model. (Read: Principle of the 5 freedoms, key to animal welfare)
The current list, supported by behavioral, physiological, and neuroscientific evidence, includes dyspnea, thirst, pain, hunger, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and sickness, which are primarily associated with internally generated sensory inputs; and anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, helplessness, loneliness and boredom, which are mainly associated with the cognitive evaluation of their external circumstances.
The Five Domains Model helps to identify negative affect related to situations that reflect cognitive responses of animals to being kept in impoverished environments or facing threatening situations.