The 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare

At the Mondulkiri Project’s elephant sanctuary we ensure our elephants enjoy the 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare.

The Five Freedoms outline five aspects of animal welfare for animals under human control. They were developed in response to a 1965 UK Government report on livestock husbandry, and were formalized in 1979 press statement by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council.The Five Freedoms have been adopted by professional groups including veterinarians, and organizations including the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare and how they are enjoyed by the elephants at our sanctuary:

  1. Freedom from hunger of thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain health and vigor.  The elephants at the Mondulkiri Project have a large jungle to graze on which contains a plentiful supply of bamboo, leaves, roots and grasses.  There is also a large river for continual access to fresh water.
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.  The elephants at the Mondulkiri Project have a shady forest to live in which ensures they are sheltered from the sun.  They are free to walk around their jungle home all day.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.  The elephants at the Mondulkiri Project never have anyone riding on their backs.  Their mahouts do not use sticks to control them.  Every day our mahouts monitor the health of the elephant.  If an elephant is sick we contact one of Cambodia’s top vets in Phnom Penh and he comes immediately to treat the elephant.
  4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.  The elephants at the Mondulkiri Project have a lot of jungle to walk around.  There are rivers, mud and trees for them to enjoy.  At any time each elephant can spend time on their own or interacting with the other elephants living at the sanctuary.  At no time are the elephants at the sanctuary forced to do something they don’t want to do.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.  The elephants at the Mondulkiri Project have been retired from work.  At no time do they have people or heavy objects on their backs.  They are not chained up all day and instead get to walk freely around our jungle sanctuary.


Before you book to visit an elephant sanctuary try to make sure their elephants enjoy the 5 freedoms of animal welfare.  Elephants should never be ridden.  Elephants should be full time at an elephant sanctuary, not part time.



The 5 Freedoms of Animal Welfare