The RSPCA subscribes to the “Five Domains” model developed by Prof David Mellor and Dr Cam Reid in 1994, which outlined a way to identify and grade the severity of different welfare issues. By examining the physical and functional factors of nutrition, environment, health and behaviour and how they impact on an animal’s mental state, the welfare status of an animal could be determined. This model was based on the Five Freedoms for animals.

Freedom from hunger and thirst by providing access to fresh water and a balanced diet to maintain full health. Freedom from discomfort by providing a safe environment, shelter and a comfortable resting place. Freedom from pain, injury and disease through prevention, rapid diagnosis and treatment. Freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.