'Animal welfare' is the desire to prevent unnecessary animal suffering. That is, whilst not categorically opposed to the use of animals, wanting to ensure a good quality of life and humane death.
The European Commission has defined the so-called "Five Freedoms" to define ideal states of animal welfare:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst - access to fresh water and a diet for full health and vigour;
- Freedom from discomfort - an appropriate environment with shelter and comfortable rest areas;
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease - prevention or rapid treatment;
- Freedom to express normal behaviour - adequate space and facilities, company of the animal’s own kind;
- Freedom from fear and distress - conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering
(Source: European Commission).