Miller, L. J., Chinnadurai, S. K. 2023. Beyond the five freedoms: Animal welfare at modern zoological facilities. Animals 13(11), 1818.
The current manuscript highlights the aspects of an animal welfare program for a modern zoological facility. The program should be proactive to identify areas for continuous improvement as well as reactive to address any identified animal welfare concerns. The program should go beyond the five freedoms and utilize one of the more modern frameworks as a foundation for the program. The program should have an animal welfare committee where staff can submit animal welfare concerns without fear of retaliation. Ongoing monitoring of all individual animals should utilize both positive and negative indicators of welfare. Staff should be trained on the most current science and be able to understand key concepts about animal welfare. Facilities should also utilize new scientific findings to continuously improve animal care practices. Modern zoological institutions, including both zoos and aquariums, have an ethical responsibility to provide high levels of animal welfare for the animals under their professional care. Simply meeting minimum standards developed decades ago is not adequate, as animals should have the opportunity to thrive.