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A Look At The Differences Between Animal Rights And Animal Welfare

March 07, 2019 / research,

Dolphins Plus, supports the efforts of Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder (DPMMR) to educate and train on marine conservation and participate in marine mammal rescue. Recently, DPMMR shared a blog post titled “Animal Rights Vs. Animal Welfare – What’s The Difference?” This is a very important topic because there’s a lot of confusion about what these two terms mean. DPMMR does a good job of explaining the distinctions, so we want to share this article with you.

Here are the basic distinctions between these two terms.

Animal welfare places an emphasis on the state of animals in their environment and involves aspects of animal well-being, including proper humane handling, housing, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, and more.

Animal rights, on the other hand, emphasizes that animals should not be used for the benefit of humans - even if the animals are being treated humanely and are well taken care of.  

Why Animal Welfare is Necessary

The DPMMR team believes that animal welfare is “vital to the mission of DPMMR, not only for the resident animals under our care but also for the wild whales and dolphins that strand and are in need of rehabilitation.”  

At Dolphins Plus we share this same sentiment and support DPMMR’s efforts to advance marine mammal welfare science so that we can understand how to help preserve these animals in the wild and even rescue them when needed.

The Five Freedoms

Our staff and researchers use the “Five Freedoms” model to measure animal welfare.  This model states that animals should always have these five freedoms:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.

  2. Freedom from discomfort.

  3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease.

  4. Freedom to express normal behavior.

  5. Freedom from fear and distress.

Dolphins Plus, in conjunction with DPMMR, created a welfare assessment for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, which was the first study of its kind. This study goes into depth regarding 36 species-specific measures and created benchmarks for industry best practices for working with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in managed care.  Click here to read the blog post from DPMMR and learn more about Animal Rights and Animal Welfare.

To learn more about dolphins, visit our Dolphin Facts page. 

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