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Animal welfare

The American Animal Hospital Association recognizes that the veterinary profession has a responsibility to advocate for measures that respect and enhance the quality of life of animals.

AAHA supports excellence in animal care; dialogue with other concerned groups; and positive actions that create, encourage, or mandate humane animal care, and any measures that enhance the respect for, or quality of life of, animals.

The concept of animal welfare is founded on the premise that humans have an ethical and moral obligation to act humanely toward animals and should act in a manner to build the bond between humans and animals. Therefore, animal welfare is a human responsibility requiring active attention to all aspects of animal health and wellbeing, including responsible husbandry, transport, and care, and humane housing, handling, and, when necessary, euthanasia.

Consideration should be given to the animal’s emotional as well as physical health and wellbeing and their ability to express behaviors that are considered normal for the species. There may often be ethical and moral evaluations when resolving issues related to animal welfare. When controversy exists, or in the absence of evidence-based science, decisions should be made that support animal welfare and wellbeing.

Adopted by the American Animal Hospital Association Board of Directors March 1993. Last revised October 2009.