Animal welfare is an important issue to me. Not only for farm animals, zoos, parks but also for pets. The law relating to this is the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to ensure that all animals needs are met. These are as follows and include the need:
- for a suitable environment (place to live)
- for a suitable diet
- to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
- to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
These are the requirements for the animals basic needs, and are quite brief. I feel there is lots of room for interpretation of these animal welfare rights as they seem broad for all animals. But on the other hand, I think it would be hard to be more specific with them too.
As a pet owner, I feel that I need to make sure my animals are health and happy. I think environment enrichment is important. Not only do I ensure they have their five needs met, but I try to make things fun for them to give them quality of life.
With our mice (soft furred African rats), I change the cage around, give them new toys, new cage furniture to explore, different food.
Here is a photo of a new toy I made today. The gnaw blocks were sold in our local pet shop and I’ve tied them up so they can climb them as well. I’ll see how they get on with it but may try making a tightrope for them like this. The last mice family we had really enjoyed their tightrope toys but kept chewing through the hanging bits so I had to fix them regularly.
Our cat enjoys playing, but she has to be in the mood. It is really funny to see a massive, 17 year old cat chasing balls and feathers. She does leave fluff where she pounces. I have different toys for her to play with and alternate them to keep it interesting for her. She also has a wobble toy where I put treats in and she has to knock them out. A real treat for her is putting a new plastic bag down as a cat bed.