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What are the five domains of animal welfare?

Australian red meat producers care for their animals and want to make sure they are healthy and happy. That’s why the Australian livestock industry is committed to the ‘Five Domains of Animal Welfare’.

The Five Domains of Animal Welfare is an internationally recognised standard for optimal animal health and welfare. It provides a means of evaluating the welfare of an animal, or group of animals, with a strong focus on mental wellbeing and positive experiences.

The five domains are:

  • Nutrition – availability and quality of feed and water
  • Environment – atmospheric and environmental conditions
  • Health – presence or absence of disease and injury
  • Behaviour – restriction or expression of behaviour
  • Mental state – subjective feelings and experiences.

The model was developed by Professor David Mellor and Dr Cam Reid in 1994 to replace the ‘Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare’ in order to include the important role of positive experiences to an animal’s wellbeing. It reinforces the message that meeting the emotional needs of an animal is just as important as its physical needs, and for animals to be truly looked after, they need to be provided with positive experiences and encouraged to express behaviours that are rewarding.