The Five Freedoms for animals in Canada

Ziyaad Mia

Ziyaad Mia, Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, writes this thoughtful piece on the treatment of farm animals in Canada. Mia references the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s Five Freedoms for farm animals:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst;
  2. Freedom from discomfort;
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease;
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour; and
  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

Mia posits: We’ve conveniently arranged our affairs to avoid seeing the chickens behind our omelettes, the cows behind our quarter-pounders. Our wilful blindness is enabled by removing any trace of animal identity from the food and products they provide for us: instead of being cows, chickens and pigs, they are juicy steaks, crispy nuggets and sizzling bacon.

Mia concludes with this statement: Finally, moral progress requires each of us to seriously consider the lives of animals and the complex roles they play in our own lives, whether as food, entertainment or companions. By doing this, animals may begin to become visible to us; they may matter. That is when we can aspire to make choices about them based on respect rather than utility.

I would argue that the five freedoms should apply to all animals.

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