Elephant, Mae Doom, at the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary.

What is animal welfare and why is it important?


World Animal Protection is an animal welfare organisation. Let’s break down what that means.

Top image: Thomas Alexander

Animal welfare refers to the quality of life experienced by an animal and encompasses how well the animal is coping with his or her current situation and surroundings.  

World Animal Protection believes animal welfare is affected by the relationships human beings have with animals and it is our duty to ensure all animals are treated humanely, responsibly, and with respect.  

This includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, such as the Five Domains. Animal welfare should be at the forefront of every human action involving animals. 

What are the Five Domains of animal welfare? 

  • Nutrition – factors that involve the animal’s access to sufficient, balanced, varied, and clean food and water. 
  • Environment – factors that enable comfort through temperature, substrate, space, air, odour, noise, and predictability. 
  • Health – factors that enable good health through the absence of disease, injury, impairment with a good fitness level. 
  • Behaviour – factors that provide varied, novel, and engaging environmental challenges through sensory inputs, exploration, foraging, bonding, playing, retreating, and others. 
  • Mental State – by presenting positive situations in the previous four functional domains, the mental state of the animal should benefit from predominantly positive states, such as pleasure, comfort, or vitality while reducing negative states such as fear, frustration, hunger, pain, or boredom. 

Why is animal welfare important? 

Animal welfare is important because there are so many animals around the world suffering from being used for entertainment, food, medicine, fashion, scientific advancement, and as exotic pets. Every animal deserves to have a good life where they enjoy the benefits of the Five Domains. 

How does World Animal Protection work to improve animal welfare? 

World Animal Protection has a multi-pronged approach to improving the lives of animals. Our programs include protecting animals in the wild and creating a better quality of life for animals in farming. 

Around the world, we work with corporations to implement robust animal welfare policies ending the use of wild animals for entertainment and the exotic pet trade. We also encourage people to reduce the amount of cruelly produced factory-farmed meat they eat and work with meat suppliers to implement higher animal welfare practices, eliminating some of the worst cruelties farmed animals face today.

About us

At World Animal Protection we move the world to protect animals because we know that the life of every animal counts.

What we do

Working around the world to end the needless suffering of animals by inspiring people to change animals’ lives for the better.

Support us

Your support is key to bringing an end to animal suffering across the world and here in Aotearoa New Zealand

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