Review on Animal Welfare


Animal welfare is a concept with both ethical and scientific dimensions, which consists of animal positive and negative experiences. Important ‘negative experiences’ are pain and frustration and important ‘positive experiences’ can be expressed in play, performance of appetitive behavior, health and physiology. Welfare varies in a continuum from very poor to very good and those kept in a good welfare can provide a good/better service. In most cases, most countries are improving the treatment of animals and improve the productivity as well as the economic values. It is true that most proportions of developed country livestock owners realize as animals are sensitive to beatings and mistreatment unlike that of developing countries. They has formulated regular ways of awareness creation to the public and are endorsed to the community what the minimal animal welfare standards to be esteemed. The welfare issue in Africa is not well kept, hence poor productivity and production is a common feature. The marketing places, transporting, farming place, slaughtering houses, and areas such as feeding, sheltering and watering places are the commonest ones where welfare deprived. Most of the present works indicated the presence of a wide violations of the animal right in developing world. Frequent updating the current public thoughts, believes about the importance of practicing well animal welfare management and applying legislative actions will be important in animal. As any African countries, Ethiopia has not formulated regular ways of awareness creation to the public and is not endorsed to the community what the minimal animal welfare standards to be esteemed. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to present a review regarding animal welfare from the point of different perspectives.

Key words: Assessment, Developed, Developing, Ethiopia, Freedom, Measuring, Welfare


Animal welfare is a state of animal as it attempts to cope with its natural environment. More detailed approaches to define the welfare of an animal as the outcome of success, or otherwise, in responding to incoming environmental stimuli have resolved around three concepts; namely, Naturalness (telos): this asks whether the animal is living a natural life in an environment consistent with that in which the species has evolved and to which it has adapted, Physical (fitness): which asks whether the animal fits and healthy as well as is able to achieve normal growth and function, good health and is able to sustain fitness in adult life and Mental (fillings): this asks whether the animal is happy experiencing a sense of mental satisfaction or, at least, freedom from mental distress [1].

The animal welfare is concerned with animal’s treatment and wellbeing while the animal provides for human needs. The basis of welfares’ position is the idea that using animals obligates people to tend to basic needs considered to be good husbandry. These needs include feed, water, protection, shelter, healthcare, alleviation of pain and suffering and etc [2]. Unfortunately, some animals are abused or maltreated by their owners. Some animal right activities insist that any animal kept in captivity is abused. Poor equipments, poor maintenance of equipments and improper use of restraint facilities contribute to poor animal handling, implying poor animal welfare [3].

Animal welfare issues encompasses domestic (farm, game and pet), wildlife (undomesticated, free ranging terrestrial vertebrates (reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals), laboratory and aquatic animals [4, 5]. Farm animal welfare concern is limited in developing countries compared to developed nations. The farm animal welfare concerns can be seen from the viewpoints they are kept and management practices, mainly in systems where animals are kept in confinement for most of their lives, feeding methods, health care situations, and expression of their normal behaviors [5].

The use of an ethical basis for animal welfare standards requires some generally accepted principles on how animals should be treated and used by humans. In general, animals have enormous capacity to feel a huge range of emotions, to learn from their experiences, to adapt to challenges, and to suffer when their needs are either ignored or disrespected. It is now time, in the evolution of the relationship between humans and animals, to move forward with this knowledge and take real action to improve the lives of farm animals and benefit more in return. The use of ethical principles should

improve efficiency of livestock handling and reduce stress on animals. Changing public opinion about the importance of good animal welfare and applying legislative actions will be important in animal production systems, especially in developing countries where the poor animal welfare is immense and production management is below sub standards [6].

The status of animal welfare keeping is variable between the developed and developing world. The source of differences arises due to a difference in the interest of policy makers between developed and developing nations in driving up of consumers to demand products passing animal welfare standards [7]. Now days, animal welfare issues are going well under better pressure in the western parts of the world contrary to the developing countries, where animals poorly handled or below the standard due to misconception and resource scarcities or limitations [8].

The concern of animal welfare is showing improvement and obtaining a better attention in farm animal welfare, which probably linked to the increased production costs and reduced productivity and production. There are policies such as, restricting imports of livestock products by insisting on domestic animal welfare standards risks encroaching on international trade agreements [9]. Therefore, policy developers in western parts of the world have reflected an increasing concern in strategies where consumer demand for animal welfare-outgoing products is expected to boost animal welfare standards [7]. Therefore, the objective of this seminar paper is to review about animal welfare issues from different standpoints.

2. OVERVIEW OF ANIMAL WELFARE 2.1. Animal welfare issues

The issue of farm animal welfare in developed world has a great attention nowadays. The concern normally based on the animals natural freedoms and respecting their right focusing on how animals are kept and managed [10].

There are in reality almost as many animal welfare issues as there are species of animals which man attempts in one way or the other to manage. Some issues are common to large sections of society who actually own and manage that species, for example owners of pet dogs and cats. These pet owners therefore have an opinion backed by some experience on some welfare issues, such as issues concerning the pet shop trade and puppy farms. On other issues the majorities have no experience and can only gain theoretical knowledge. This is because they do not own or manage that species. It has to be said that with the advent of the information boom from the Internet, the reliability of some of the information available is questionable. Examples of issues where few people themselves have personal experience would be; captive marine mammal issues, captive zoo animals, animal experimentation and animal testing There are some issues where historical cultural norms conflict with modern welfare theory. Examples of these would be; bear bile farming, bull fighting, fox hunting, cock fighting, and dog fighting [11].

On the other end of the spectrum, one has issues where modern farm techniques conflict with current welfare theory, examples of this would be sow breeding crates, parasite and health issues of pigs in modern organic farms, battery egg laying farms, some broiler breeder units, some broiler house managements, salmonella issues on modern free range chicken farms, and dairy cow foot welfare. How and why some issues become more embedded in a populations’ consciousness is itself an interesting subject for debate. It is usually due to a combination of media attention, animal welfare charity action, science research results and many other factors, for instance an internet subject being highlighted in the blogosphere. The reality is of course that there are welfare issues involved with every species man manages [11].

2.2. Animal welfare definitions

Animal welfare could be defined in a variety of ways and some of the definitions sorted from different sources are listed below. There are many definitions of animal welfare and the following mentioned below are often used to provide valuable guidance on animal welfare [11]

2.2.1. Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary

Animal welfare means the avoidance of abuse and exploitation of animals by humans by maintaining appropriate standards of accommodation, feeding and general care, the prevention and treatment of disease, and the assurance of freedom from harassment, and unnecessary discomfort and pain [11].

2.2.2. OIE (The World Animal Health Organization) Definition of Animal Welfare

Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment [12].

2.2.3. Additional definition of Animal welfare

Animal welfare is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to treat animals cruelly and cause of unnecessary pain or suffering to them. An animal is defined as any mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish or any other vertebrate or invertebrate whether wild or tame. Animal Welfare is however, not only about ensuring an animal is not treated cruelly or caused unnecessary pain or suffering, it is about ensuring that an animal’s physical state, its mental state and its ability to fulfill its natural needs and desires are considered and attended to [11].

2.3. Historical background of animal welfare

One of the first definitions of “welfare” in the 1965 reported by Brambell Committee takes in to account both physical and physiological components, placing particular emphasis on the sensation and filling of animals [13].

Animal science has issued from the lively ethical debates since 1960’s about in the treatment of animals both in the food industry and medical research. The starting point for this discussion was the publication of Ruth Harrison’s Animal Machines (1964), where she particularly criticized modern farming methods. As a result of Harrison’s book and the subsequent discussion of a UK government committee (the Brambell committee) paved a way to ask to examine a conditions in which livestock are kept under system of intensive husbandry and to advice whether standard ought to be set in interest of their welfare and if so what they should do [14].

The Brambell committee investigated the notion of animal welfare thoroughly and they rejected as over simplified and incomplete the view that an animal productivity could be taken as a decisive evidence of the animal’s state of welfare. They attached importance of animal health and also the animal’s being able to engage in its natural behavior. The review presented by bramble committee (1965), they proposed “the five freedoms”; namely, freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition (by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.), freedom from discomfort (by providing suitable environment including shelter and comfortable resting area),freedom from pain, injury and disease (by prevention and rapid diagnosis and treatment), freedom to express normal behavior (by providing enough space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind) and freedom from fear and distress (by providing conditions, which prevent mental suffering) [14].

Animal rights groups pressed for changes in the laws that govern the protection of lab animals. The main federal law pertaining to animal research is the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. This law was first passed in 1966, partly because of reports about sales to laboratories of stolen pets. The act initially required that certain animals used for research including dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs be obtained via legal means and given humane care [15].

In 1970 the Animal Welfare Act was amended to require that laboratory animals receive painkilling drugs whenever appropriate; in 1985 the act was amended again, requiring that each research facility receiving federal money create a special committee to oversee animal research. Furthermore, resources must be devoted to the physical and emotional well-being of lab animals. The 1985 amendments also require federally funded researchers to consider alternatives to animal use [15].

2.4. State of art on the concept of welfare

As highlighted before, animal welfare as a ‘formal discipline’ started with the publication of the Brambell report on the welfare of farm animals, issued by the British government in 1965 [16]. The adoption of a conventional scientific approach, with experiments focusing on the effects of single factors under controlled circumstances [17], allowed the new discipline to be established as a science, or as “a young science” [18]. A very large amount of research has been carried out about animal welfare problems involving very specific fields of interest, such as the development of welfare assessment methods in different environments, as well as more fundamental questions relating to the biological bases of welfare and stress [19].

2.4.1. The concept of suffering and need

Among the main issues involved in the concept of welfare are the concepts of ‘suffering’ and ‘need,’ as well as the ‘five freedoms’, which are more related to animal husbandry and management by man. These concepts are related to the fact that animals are now acknowledged as “sentient beings” as in Amsterdam Treaty in 1997, which confers special consideration for them under European Law [18]. The concept of ‘sentience’ had been already given scientific validity by Darwin [20].

It is related to the strong debate opposing in the past behaviorists and ethologists. In fact at the beginning the American School of Behaviorism (did not accept in the scientific vocabulary “all subjective terms such as sensation, perception, image, desire and even thinking and emotion” Initially ethologists also generally restricted their considerations to observable behavior, although using terms such as ‘hunger,’ ‘pain,’ ‘fear’ and ‘frustration’ [21].

2.4.2. Perception and animal experience

Due to the development of research and to changes to the initial positions, psychology and ethology started to collaborate. Thus, contrary to the belief that we could never know how animals feel, but only how they behave, some ethologists, such as Dawkins (1980) and cognitive psychologists, such as Toates (1986), have carried out studies of perception, decision making, self-awareness or capacity to learn from others in order to understand the animal minds. These studies, besides making it possible to obtain a deeper knowledge of animal minds, also give a clear picture of how animals perceive the world and how environmental stimuli may affect their welfare level [19]. Of course the stimuli perception and the consequent reaction to them are determined by the interaction between genotype (species and breed) and learning (experience and interpretation of that experience) [22].

The possibility to deepen the knowledge of animal’s minds also makes it possible to better understand animals’ ‘subjective experiences’, both positive and negative. These latter may also involve ‘suffering,’ which consists of “a wide range of unpleasant emotional states” [23]. Suffering occurs “when unpleasant subjective feelings are acute or continue for a long time because an animal is unable to carry out the actions that would normally reduce risks to life and reproduction in those circumstances” [24].

The different aspects of the concept of animal welfare have always to be taken into consideration in the studies on animal science. This means that all the biological components, both physical and psychological, concurring in determining the welfare level, have to be studied and linked together. Moreover physiological, immune and behavioral measures should be validated and their underlying biological mechanisms should be adequately understood. The animals’ biological mechanisms are directed to simultaneously adapt to many environmental stimuli, sometimes conflicting and potentially stressful stimuli, whose importance determines priorities of action [25].

2.4.3. Animal needs and characteristics

The challenge for animal welfare research is to discover how animals ‘feel’ and how much it does matter to them. Following this challenge, another important issue is to find out which are the animals ‘specific needs and how these needs may be fulfilled by the environment where they live. In

fact the possibility to fulfill the biological needs is r+elated to the welfare level. In this respect, a long debate has been raised among researchers on animal welfare about the term ‘need.’ According to Fraser and Broom (1997) “the general term ‘need’ is used to refer to a deficiency in an animal which can be remedied by obtaining a particular resource or responding to a particular environmental or bodily stimulus.” Considering animal welfare in practice, the animal may be interacting with a variety of factors that may represent the fulfilling of the ‘needs,’ i.e. requirements for obtaining physical and mental health [26].

The needs vary according to the species characteristics and evolution, and may be divided into different categories, which may be summed up in the following:- environmental needs, such as housing and management which include handling and breeding, as well as hygiene, transport and environmental enrichment;- physiological and behavioral needs, which include the possibility to express the main specific biological functions as well as the behavioral repertoire. This possibility also depends on the interaction with human beings and on the genetic selection of reared subjects for desirable traits. The biological functional systems and the motivational state determine the variety of each organism’s more or less urgent needs and the impossibility of satisfying the needs may raise welfare problems [27].

In this respect, the concept of ‘freedom’ in animal husbandry has been introduced and plays a key role. In fact the knowledge about the needs of animals is related to the proposal of giving animals some ‘freedoms’ [16], revised by FAWC [8] as follows: – Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition; -by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain full health and vigor. – Freedom from discomfort; -by providing a suitable environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. -Freedom from pain, injury and disease; -by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. – Freedom to express normal behavior; -by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animals own kind. -Freedom from fear and distress; -by ensuring conditions which avoid mental suffering [8].

According to Webster [22], “absolute attainment of all five freedoms is unrealistic,” but these freedoms are an “attempt to make the best of a complex and difficult situation.” These have to be deeply considered in husbandry systems for farm animals, because they have to be given the possibility to adapt well to them, in order to avoid undue distress and consequently produce well in

optimal conditions. In any case, animals’ welfare has to be considered in a realistic way, avoiding anthropomorphism into its evaluation [22], as well as pure mechanistic consideration [19].


Domestic animals contribute to the world society in several important ways. Some of these contributions are identified bellow.

3.1. Source of food, fiber and other products

Several species of mammals, birds and fishes contribute major source of food and fiber. Many of the non-food products of the meat, poultry and dairy industries are used in agricultural and industrial applications. In edible animal, fats are used for producing soap, animal feed, lubricants, cosmetics, candles, food emulsifiers, plasticizers etc [28]

3.2. Pleasure companionship and service

Horse, dog, cat, and other domestic animals have provided companionship and pleasure throughout civilization. Animals like dogs are used as guides and guiding for the blind and handicapped, and in illegal drug search, herding livestock, guarding property and trustworthy companionship [28]. Activities such as rodeos, fighting and racing, together provide billions of person’s days of recreation annually. In developing countries these combined animal recreation events represent the largest source of entertainment for people [2]

3.3. Nutrient recycling and ecological stability

Animal wastes and food processing wastes are recycled through animals resulting in enhanced utilization of valuable resources and reduced environmental pollution. Domestic animals as well as wild animals are needed for ecological stability and conservation of natural resources [28].

3.4. The use of animals in research, testing and education

The use of animals in research, testing and education is a privilege carrying with if unique professional, scientific, and moral obligations and ethical responsibilities. The AVMA encourage proper stewardship of all animals, but defends and promotes the use of animals in meaningful research, testing and education program [29].


To talk about animal welfare, it is crucial to see it from three perspectives such as biological, affective and natural state point of view. Even though currently it is not able to develop a unified definition of the desirable welfare state adapted, the above three points of perspectives can be used as a base. According to Mellor and his colleagues [30], the above three perspectives are clarified as follows. The biological state: describes the animals’ health growing and reproduction situation as a parameter of welfare; the affective state: stresses potential for animals to suffer or to have positive experiences while the natural state compares the differences between captive animals and the wild state where they origin from, and to what extent they are able to express natural behaviors [10].

When one observes injury signs, such as self-mutilation, or chronic stimulation of the autonomic nervous system indicates clearly as there is a lowered animal welfare. In another approach, welfare of an animal said in good conditions when stress responses not chronically activated and when the individual can cope with them successfully [31].

Other fundamental bases for maintaining animal’s welfare sustainability are the five freedoms outlined in the 1970s in England and since then been the central basis for animal welfare all over the world according to FAWC. These five freedoms include: Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition: addressed by providing constant access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health

and vigor. Freedom from discomfort: addressed by providing a suitable environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease: addressed by

prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment; Freedom to express normal behavior: addressed by providing sufficient space, proper facilities, and company of the animal’s own kind; and Freedom from fear and distress: addressed by ensuring conditions and treatment, that avoids mental suffering [8].

It is true that ranges of animal’s behaviors that an animal’s expressions are good indicators of how the animal copes with certain situations. If one observes behavioral changes as when the animal refuses to move or vocalize in a high extent or different sound, these may indicate the extent of the problem, where the situation can be improved, or in need of better condition [31].


Welfare assessment can be based on scientific researches, public opinion or the opinion of experts. Often science is needed to provide the welfare assessment but it is vital to understand public opinion as well, because this will dictate the level of provision for the animal to an acceptable standard [32].

Welfare assessment is often used as the basis for the reform of animal welfare legislation. It is also used to improve conditions for animals reared for food, used in research, kept in captivity or as companion animals. According to Brown and Bousfield, three components are important in animal welfare assessment: The use of the Five Freedoms; The assessment of welfare inputs and welfare outputs, inputs being the factors that affect the animal’s welfare and outputs being the actual impact of these factors on the animal’s welfare; and The quantification of welfare problems found or measured using severity, duration and number of animals affected. An example of assessing a broiler chicken farm’s welfare would encompass considerations such as: The Five Freedoms; Inputs; such as the broiler farmer’s empathy, knowledge and observation skills, the broiler’s environment such as the population density, housing, bedding, feed quality and water provision and the broilers breed, age and sex suitability for the system; outputs such as findings of leg disorders, feather pecking, skin changes and growth rates on the farm; and then Quantifying these outputs such as the severity, duration and number of birds affected. In some situations, welfare outputs may be assessed physiologically by measuring an animal’s heart rate, respiratory rate, blood cortisol levels, blood pressure, and adrenaline, enzymes and metabolite levels [11].

Animal behavior can be an excellent measure for assessing overall health; indeed, the clinical signs used to diagnose diseases in animals are often based on behavior, (for example, signs of pain). A sound understanding of animal behavior is a key for the veterinarians or other professional in assessing animal health [33].


Developed countries tend to have more financial resources and infrastructure to support animal welfare. This includes housing, feeding systems, and transportation; greater ability to address problems such as drought, cold, and predators; and stronger research programs in the area of animal welfare. Developed countries are also likely to have a greater number of veterinarians and animal production specialists; more developed industries for vaccine and animal health supplies; and enhanced education and industry awareness regarding animal welfare [34].

Animal welfare improvements in developed countries are more likely to be made through the automation of systems, while cheaper labor in developing countries offers more scope to increase human contact where this could have a positive effect [35]. In contrast to developing countries, there is enough or more provision for animal welfare made in the laws and regulations of most developed countries. For instance the well known animal welfare organizations are the main concern and are indications for the promotion of animal welfare in developed countries [10].


From the beginning of civilization draught animals, bullocks, horses, camels, mules, donkeys, etc., have been making a significant contribution to the society. Many draught animals (DAs) are used for plough in developing countries. For instance in India more than two million people are dependent on DAs for plough, for pulling vehicles, and for carrying goods. For a variety of reasons the developing countries of the world may have to depend on Draught Animal Power (DAP) for many more years to come. The DAs plough 100 million hectares of land and haul 1,800 million tons of freight in 15 million animal drawn carts [36].

The developing countries of Asia poultry farming welfare for instance started typical factory farming system with intensive deep either litter or battery cages from 1965 onwards. Three quarters of the world’s 4,700 million egg-laying hens are confined in tiny battery cages [10].

In India about 60% of which are in battery cages. Broiler chickens under six weeks old suffer painful crippling due to fast growth rates, whilst one in a hundred of these very young birds die of heart failure [37].

In Africa nearly to 300 million people, depend on livestock for their income and livelihood, which is inseparable in the daily way of life and activity. In spite of the fact, there is little or no provision for animal welfare is made in the laws and regulations of most African countries [38].

In general, many study results showed that animal welfare concern remain at its lower level in developing countries due to various reasons, some of the key factors that hinder the welfare issue includes, poor economic of the people and absence of government support, as well as lack of skills towards the management [39]. However, recently, due to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Tool includes animal welfare as a critical competency in Veterinary Services, and most African countries have now conducted PVS appraisals a better condition could be seen from the previous acts. All relevant parties are developing animal Welfare Strategy in the regional system of Africa, which will provide opportunities for full engagement [10].

Without a level of understanding of animal welfare that is sufficient to support clear animal welfare policy development and implementation, problems may appear in the near future, which could jeopardize the attainment of increased animal productivity and product quality, which may have negative implications for economic growth and for national, and international trade [40].

Slaughtering places (houses) for instance in Africa are the commonest places of deprivations of animal welfare (Masiga and Munyua, 2005), where abattoirs confront the definitions of slaughter houses, other unacceptable procedures such as cutting of tendons, stunning animals with mattocks, strangling chickens, suffocating pigs, and slitting the throats of animals and birds before stunning [10].


There are numerous and varied animal welfare organizations throughout the world where all adopted the five freedoms that mentioned earlier outlined in the 1970s in England as a fundamental base [8]. Some of the known organizations are listed as follows: The Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW); the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA); the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA); Compassion in World Farming; the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Some animal rights organizations have welfare aspects to their activities e.g. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The Chinese Animal Protection Network (CAPN) is a recently formed non-profit animal protection organization, and the first Chinese network for animal protection [11]. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) implemented the first international guidelines for animal welfare earlier in 2005 and about a total of 167 countries accepted these OIE [41].


Comparing the world nations, the western hemisphere of the world follow strict animal welfare regulations and similarly organizations are fighting for animals’ rights in a society where economics often deemed the most important factor. In contrary to the western hemisphere, there are no compressive animal welfare regulations or any related constitution that protects them from suffering in Ethiopian condition in general [8].

According to Homeless Animal Protection Society in Ethiopia, there are six to seven organizations working for animals’ welfare. The first organization first established as early as 1954 in Bale, Southeastern Ethiopia area with the “Bale mountains national park” (BMNP), where the 1st idea of assisting homeless dogs started. This society mainly working in humanely reduce the number of homeless dogs through applying animal birth control program by Trap Neuter Release (TNR) method together with vaccinating against rabies in order to save the endangered Ethiopian wolf from threat of extinction, rabies, and hybridization of domestic dogs. The idea of this society is emanated due to the measures used to be taken in the BMNP primarily, to eliminate homeless dogs and secondly to save the endangered Ethiopian wolves from rabies and hybridization. The measures used to solve the problems were shooting and poisoning which never helps to solve the problem despite the fact it has been practiced for the past several years. The method used to reduce the homeless dogs in the area was against animal welfare [42].

According to HAPS [43], few of the park staffs who noticed the cruelty and ineffectiveness of the above mentioned measuring methods from their past experience decided to establish this society in order to solve the problem and save the animals from cruel activities and also from extinction as well. BMNP then started promoting animal welfare and right mainly via community education and then try to reduce the suffering of homeless dogs through vaccination and neutering. Despite the fact the idea and the start dealing with animal welfare goes back to 1900’s in Ethiopia, still it has not yet been accomplished the main objectives of its work to be exercised. Few years before, it showed a progress and that hope fully will be ready within near future [44].

The Establishment of the new Ministry of Livestock and Fishery in Ethiopia by 2015, focused on mainly increasing the production of livestock to contribute up to 10% of the Gross Domestic

Product (GDP) according to The Ethiopian Herald news report (2015). This new Ministry office will hopefully contribute for the emanating of comprehensive animal welfare legislations and issues in the country for the future [45].

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) implemented the first international guidelines for animal welfare in earlier in 2005 and about a total, 167 countries accepted these OIE [41]. The five freedoms that mentioned earlier outlined in the 1970s in England, are fundamental basis for animal welfare all over the world [8]. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of guidelines and regulations for animal welfare in Ethiopia [12].

9.1. Animal welfare problems

In Ethiopia, animal welfare problems mostly seen in marketing places, during transporting, farming places, abattoir (slaughtering) houses, feeding areas, sheltering areas and watering places [46] Ethiopia has several marketing systems existing for trading animals in different locations. Transporting to markets mostly done in Ethiopia by trekking just like most African countries, due to lack of suitable vehicles. Transport conditions, level of vibration on vehicle and the behaviors that the animal expresses and changes of stress hormones, contradict animal welfare largely [47].

The common challenge in walking animals by foot often leads to accidents such as injured, dead or stolen of animal’s cases, which were investigated by [47] who found that 7.6% of animals died, 6- 9% got injured and 2.8% were stolen. Likewise, lameness and injuries such as swelling of legs commonly occur. Similarly, the above has also been proven a problem when animals are also transported by vehicle indicating the problems which accompany a lack of rest, water and feed [48]

As indicated by Bulitta and his colleagues [47] stakeholders in Ethiopia handle animals in a bad way, which increased the prevalence of death and injuries. By measuring behavioral or physiological conditions, animal handling can be explained to a higher extent and a welfare concept implemented in the particular area. For instance when adult male cattle are mixed in large or during transport, they express higher levels of fighting behavior which can be recorded and measured as a poor welfare indicator [49]. In this regard animal welfare situation in Ethiopia has multi directional

problems that have not been dealt by the stakeholders and not covered even by the present non- governmental organizations working with this issue [47].

In Ethiopia, farm animals such as oxen generally subjected to plough for long period without having rest and supplied adequate feed and water. Pack animals such as horses and donkey are forced to carry overload weight for long distances without proper harnessing materials and inadequate feed and water provisions, despite their contributions is high in the daily activity of the owner directly or indirectly [50].

Pet animals such as dogs will be killed by poison inhumanly for the sake of rabies control and prevention in most areas of the country. Sick animals will not be taken to clinics for treatment. The farm animals in most parts of the country are openly housed without appropriate shelter and are exposed for intensive direct sunlight and erratic summer rainfall. Animals will be forced to stay for long time in the market even for days without water and feed in harsh handling manner. However, a number of Veterinary schools and Animal science fields of study departments are graduating professionals yet the services in health care and keeping the welfare of animals is lagging behind the expectation [51].

9.2. Rules and Regulations with respect to animal welfare

Ethiopia has not formulated regular ways of awareness creation to the public and is not aware of what the minimal animal welfare standards to be esteemed. There are few attempts made by few non-governmental organizations such as the Donkey Sanctuary Project, Homeless Animals Protection Society and SPANA. Ethiopia move a good step in integrating the animal welfare issues in the educational system (curriculum) in particular at the university level, specifically in veterinary and animal science fields of study [52].

Ethiopia support and facilitate the exercise of animal welfare, it has the legal frame in encouraging active participation of animal science professionals in the activities of animal welfare institutions through membership and active participation by offering advice, professional services, to these organizations and/or their representatives [52]. In Ethiopia, various proclamations tried to show as it

condemn aversive actions done on animals. For instance, crime proclamation No.414/2004 of Ethiopia stated that contamination of water, feed and pasture counted as a crime. Crimes committed through production and distribution of substances hazardous to animal health, manufacture, adulteration and sale of fodder and products injurious to livestock and scandalous treatment of animals are included indicating animal welfare issues lightly in different articles on the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia [53].

Federal Negarit Gazeta of Ethiopia under the Proclamation No. 267/2002 stated about the prevention and control of animal diseases. In this proclamation, the primary concern is to prevent and control animal diseases in order to maximize the benefits obtained from the extensive livestock resource by keeping the wellbeing or welfare of animals. Ethiopian Veterinary Drug and Feed Administration and Control Proclamation No. 728/2011 also stated as clinical test shall be conducted with due care to animal welfare requirements [54, 55].


The veterinary profession plays a key role in animal welfare issues since armed with detailed knowledge and have a regular contact with the animals, either in the clinic or during visits to the farm, and to treat sick animals, to institute preventive measures or to control the legislation is being followed [56].

Relatively little has been written about veterinary medicines role in shaping the discourse of farm animal welfare, suggesting that veterinarians are not perceived (at least by scholars) as leaders and opinion shapers, thus veterinarians have a natural ethical responsibilities to positioned to be credible on animal issues and are readily accessible to the public [57].

The veterinary profession is committed to promote animal welfare through the art and science of keeping animals fit through attention to good husbandry, hygiene, preventive medicine and prompts treatment of injury and disease, it lacks in its attention to the study of how the animal feels [37].

Occasionally veterinarians are confronted, either directly or in directly, with animal welfare concerns. Perhaps while attending a call the client comments about a neighbor who is “starving his cattle”. Another example would be while attending clinical call, it is noted that the general state of animal on the farm borders on cruelty (neglect, starvation, untreated disease in other animal). In such cases veterinarian actions may be to present the concern to the owner and attempt to educate him/her regarding responsible animal care [58].

Beyond their analysis of veterinary fact making, students can examine how these facts play in to clinical decision making and what their practitioners will be. It should be easy for them to understand that clients are the ones who must decide what resource of time and money they have for the animal’s care. It is also easy to assert that the veterinarians must do their best to educate client on how to recognize their animal’s suffering and pain as it changes through the course of treatment. It can be more challenging to appreciate how the facts stop sort of determining the course of action [59].


Although less attention is given in the developing world the issue of farm animal welfare is a big concern in developed nations of the globe. The concern normally based on the animals natural freedoms and respecting their rights focusing on how animals are kept and managed. The place where animal welfare frequently violated such as market places, transporting methods, abattoir houses and the like should get a serious focus primarily. Frequent updating regarding the current public thoughts and believes about the importance of practicing good animal welfare management and applying legislative actions will be important in animal production systems, especially in developing countries, where the poor animal welfare is enormous. As veterinarians become more aware of the development in animal welfare science, their contribution in the arena of animal welfare is so immense. Based on the above brief conclusions the following recommendations are forwarded;

  •   People who work with animal should be aware of physical, nutritional, and behavioral needs and should be able to relate positively to the feelings of animals.
  •   Giving legal support and facilitating for non-governmental organizations to engage in animal welfare works should continue at large scale in holistic approach to include all species of farm animals.
  •   The government needs to customize rules and regulation to endorse animal welfare in areas like abattoir, marketing places, transportation and handling of homeless and injured animals.
  •   The Basic concept of animal welfare should go deep into farmers and farm owner’s level to have the basic concept especially in developing countries,
  •   Animal Welfare issue should also need to go deep into the community, primary and secondary school level for better understanding,
  •   Research regarding animal welfare affairs in regions like Ethiopia is important.


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