ENFORCE 5 FREEDOM: LIVE STOCK WELFARE
The Five Freedoms are basic ideals of welfare for farm animals, like livestock and poultry, wherever the animals may be, such as at farms, markets, slaughterhouses, or in transit, and should be applied by anyone in charge of the animals or handling them.
1. Freedom from Hunger and 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 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.
The concept of “live stock welfare” stemms from the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (FAWAC:an independent advisory body established by the Government in 1979) in UK. In Japan, the idea of animal welfare is rather new. Let alone, farmhouse whose stockmanship conceded toward 5 freedoms is low. However FAWAC states that, “Stockmanship, plus the training and supervision necessary to achieve required standards, are key factors in the handling and care of livestock.”
A lot of people would wonder about the word “animal” and “welfare.” Please remember that the livestock has as complex nerve system as humans and they feel pain and have emotions. They need to be treated ethically and should have freedom to move around.
I visited a slaughter house that was run by the local government in Hokkaido in 2007. Slaughter houses have a death laden air around them. High pitched machinery sound spreads out, but that is actually the sound of pig screaming. In the back of the building, the drain had dark red streams. The smell that seems like fresh and blood also covers the place. The whole scene is haunting. Pigs are terrified, since they know that are killed soon, just like the other pigs were. Before death, they wait in a packed small stall, trenching and crying for help. Some are pasing and some are deadly depressed.
The slaughterhouse in Hokkaido had a memorial grave stone for slaughtered animals there. Workers go there to commemorate the lost lives and pains that the animals had to have. If the good conscience arises strongly sometimes in their lives, things may change for the livestock gradually.
Cheap yakiniku, yakitori, ramen shops are everywhere in Tokyo, or any cities in Japan. Each one of them use and waste tons of meat and food. When sitting in front of a deliciously looking food at restaurant , even if your conscience reminds you about the terrified pigs, but the aroma pulls you. However the conscience is the key to change the vicious cycle of the current mass produced meat industry.