The Five Freedoms: Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease

July 28, 2023 | Blog

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 our field 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.

As promised, we will be visiting the Five Freedom’s over the next few weeks. Below is a discussion about the third freedom, the Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease.

–  Donna Casamento, CEO of IndyHumane



Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease
By prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

One of the jewels in the IndyHumane crown (which is a very bejeweled one!), is our medical team.  We offer state of the art diagnostic work and once our two new vets arrive in the next few weeks we will have a large team of veterinary professionals, skilled shelter care teams and attentive volunteer staff to help us identify signs of disease.  Our teams know enough about animal body language to note signs or behavioral details that could indicate an underlying issue.  Our teams spend enough time with these animals to be aware of even subtle changes in physical or mental health, which can be affected by pain, injury, or the onset of disease.

The veterinary team, and those that support them, offer resources to our animals that are far beyond the scope of many animal shelters.  We have grown the areas of expertise to assist with declaw procedure aftereffects and the ability to offer anxiety meds to pets who are severely stressed while in our care.  Our medical team is able to offer the best in shelter medicine by having a very detailed preventative medicine protocol as well.  The ability to prevent disease in a shelter means multiple lives saved and it sets these animals and their new families up for a lifetime of health and happiness.  We take prevention so seriously that it was the inspiration for our s/n & vaccine clinics; happy, healthy pets stay in homes and don’t need to be sheltered!

You are all aware of the number of medical cases referred to our team of doctors, technicians, and medical volunteer staff.  Offering this kind of intervention to animals who often have not had the benefit of good care allows us to follow best practices and saves lives far beyond the walls of IndyHumane.  Our medical resources set us apart.  IndyHumane is aware, however, that with this resource comes the responsibility to offer it to our community partners and we are grateful to be able to help save lives when asked to do so.  Our patrons show their gratitude for this Freedom via their amazing MedSpon support as well.

Thank you for focusing on the basic rights for shelter animals.  Attention to these Freedoms is what IndyHumane does on every level; it is all about the animals.

These Freedoms embody what IndyHumane strives to provide and are at the core of everything that we do as paid and volunteer staff, and as an organization.  This is not only due to an amazing group of shelter staff but also due to thousands of hours of volunteer staff time, and from support for the supplies and equipment from our donors.

Thank you for all you do, for your attention to this Freedom, and for living the IndyHumane mission.  Not only do we work as teams inside the organization to promote the best for our animals, but we also work as a community to further best practices for all animals.  Focusing on the basic rights for shelter animals is what IndyHumane does on every level; it is all about the animals.

As stated before, 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 human animal bond and supports 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.



IndyHumane’s mission is to improve animal welfare in central Indiana. We are committed to ending the cycle of pet overpopulation, providing affordable pet ownership, and ensuring the well-being, health and safety of all animals in our care. We strive to promote the human animal bond and the powerful impact this mutually beneficial relationship has on individuals, families, and the Indianapolis community.  


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