The Five Freedoms: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst

May 26, 2023 | Blog

Sunshine when she first arrived at IndyHumane and after she was adopted. 


By Donna Casamento

Recently, I came across several previous posts that were shared with our team quite some time ago. I was impressed by the way in which this important message was shared. I changed a few things but am completely stealing it to share with all of you now. Over the next weeks I will share the remaining Freedom’s with you and hope you will enjoy reading them and realize that we are putting these into practice here at IndyHumane every day.

You may have heard professionals in animal welfare talk about “The Five Freedoms”.  These are five principles that the animal welfare community has adopted to ensure animals needing shelter receive appropriate, basic care.  In recent conferences, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement has encouraged animal shelter leaders to continue to work toward all adoptable animals being placed in homes, but also not to forget that these Beings are entitled to receive 5 very basic Freedoms.

These Freedoms embody what IndyHumane strives to provide and though it is heartbreaking sometimes that means that we cannot help as many as need us. As a limited admission shelter with limited resources IndyHumane is not able to care for more than we have the capacity to care for properly; these Freedoms need to be at the core of everything that we do as paid and volunteer staff, and as an organization.  In order to validate the work you do and encourage us not to forget why we do it, we want to share one of the Freedom’s with you this week.  If you aren’t familiar with them, you can find more on the ASPCA website as well as many other sites for our field.

Freedom from Hunger and Thirst:

By ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.

Our shelter does an amazing job of making sure our animals have fresh water in clean bowls and access to any special diet they need!  We are lucky to be able to provide sanitary food dishes and a high-quality selection of food; there are shelters and rescues who struggle to provide this to the animals they house.  I’m so proud of the fact that our team will try to find out if food will help any affliction from hair loss to organ failure; is concerned with eating too much to having no appetite at all; is ready to feed babies when they need it (even every 2 hours—thanks foster families!); and we even have a group of folks that will buy chicken nuggets, burgers or share a their lunch with a shelter pet in an effort to get the appetite stimulated!

Our Pet Pantry helps other shelters & rescues offer access to an appropriate diet for the animals in their care as well.  This amazing program helps groups offer food pantries across the state and in our own city and the Pop-Up Shops every month further the effort by giving the public a chance to buy the supplies their own pets need at a very nominal price.

Our efforts to make sure animals in our care, and those around our city and across our state, have this very basic Freedom are in place.  IndyHumane is fortunate to be able to provide for the animals in our care so well.  This is not only due to an amazing group of shelter staff-both paid and volunteer-as well as our hundreds of foster families, but our donors who support the work we do.

All of us, from staff to patrons and donors, expect this level of care for the animals in our shelter.  We, in turn, expect the new families to follow suit.  The education for and the belief in basic Freedoms is what strengthens the humane ethic for all central Indiana animals!  Thank you for all you do, for your attention to this very basic Freedom and for living the IndyHumane mission.