ACS Distance Education UK
The management of captive carnivores involves prevention of injuries and disease, assessment of animal health and putting into practice laws and regulations. While laws are sometimes difficult to implement and compliance difficult to monitor, standards can be imposed in environments where animals are involved for the betterment of their wellbeing.
Many carnivores spend their lives in the company of humans. In captivity, carnivores may be:
MANAGING THE WELFARE OF CAPTIVE CARNIVORES
Animal welfare provides the basis of managing animals. Animal welfare management involves putting into practice strategies for avoiding problems with animal health and assessing the outcomes of those measures.
When we are keeping carnivores in captivity, we must ask:
By asking these questions, this allows us to assess the situation for our carnivorous pets, working animals, exhibition or farmed animals, and decide whether we are managing them appropriately.
DUTY OF CARE
Part of animal welfare is determining who is responsible for an animal – in other words, with whom does it duty of care lie? Without establishing this, it is impossible to enforce protections and welfare for captive animals. Many governments have registration programs for both pets and industry, which allows for appropriate responses to contraventions of animal welfare.
ASSESSING ANIMAL WELFARE
Animal welfare assessments are usually broken into four groups:
Examples of assessment across these indicators include:
Using an example of a tiger in a zoo, these general factors could be used and adapted; production would be of less importance, but comfort with audience or people would be an appropriate altered metric. Here, environment would also be an immediate factor – as animals are transported or viewed, temperature regulation, particularly in a heat wave, is important. Proper care in this case would include access to shade, air, and water.
PREVENTING DISEASE AND INJURY
Sometimes prevention is more important than the treatment, and it is vital that we investigate the ways in which we can help prevent illness, injury and disease in captive carnivores. It is important that we not only look after the general health and wellbeing of the animal, but also the environment around them.
There are many points for consideration in the way we help prevent disease and injury. These include:
Health Checks and Observations
Full health checks should be completed by a vet regularly to ensure any health issues in captive carnivores may be picked up early. Health checks are a way of picking up any injury or illness before it worsens.
Observing an animal is equally important and it is vital to learn their normal behaviour, then you can observe any changes which may occur, allowing early diagnoses if necessary. Some behavioural changes to look out for include;
These behavioural changes may not necessarily mean an animal is unwell, but may indicate there is something going on and it is worth keeping up your observations to assess improvement.