The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)
WHAT: Promoting animals’ prosperity and wellbeing.
IN DETAIL: Founded in 1961, the veteran organization does everything in its power to minimize – if not altogether eliminate – the impact of human actions detrimental to endangered species.
WHERE: Worldwide. AWI is especially engaged with promoting American legislation.
Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is an American, non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1951 with the goal of reducing pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Its legislative division, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL), pushes for the passage of laws that reflect this purpose.
AWI expanded the scope of its work in the following decades to address many other areas of animal-rights-related issues.
One major area of emphasis is factory farms. AWI speaks out against this and promotes small, independent family farms that follow the organization’s animal welfare and husbandry standards. Other efforts include ending the use of steel-jaw leghold traps for catching fur-bearing animals, improving the lives of animals in laboratories, and promoting the development of non-animal testing methods.
AWI representatives regularly attend meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to fight for the protection of threatened and endangered species. They also attend meetings of the International Whaling Commission to fight to preserve the ban on commercial whaling and work to protect all marine life against the proliferation of anthropogenic ocean noise.
Animal Welfare Approved
AWI launched its Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) standards program in Fall 2006, with husbandry requirements for beef cattle and calves, pigs, sheep, ducks, turkeys and rabbits. Standards for additional species will follow.
Only family farms can earn the AWA seal.
The welfare of farmed animals is related to the extent to which they can adapt to environments designed by humans.
The “Five Freedoms” are used to describe both the needs of domesticated animals and the duties of care owed them. The Five Freedoms have a long history, having first been described in a scientific report to the British government in 1965 and enhanced by the Carpenter Committee in 1980. They underlie the AWA program, reflecting the goals that the standards strive to achieve. They provide a useful benchmark by which farmers can evaluate the outcomes of their husbandry.
The Five Freedoms are: freedom from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition; freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease (including parasitical infections); freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.