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The Principles Underlying the Responsible Minimum Standards detail overarching requirements that apply to all farm animals and should be read in conjunction with any of the species-specific Responsible Minimum Standards.

Important FARMS RMS principles

Based on the IFC's Good Practice Note

We do not elaborate on these principles because they apply to all animals.


“There should be a sufficient number of trained and well-motivated personnel proficient in good stockmanship to maintain animal health and welfare, and ensure that the physical, health, and behavioral needs of animals are met.”



“Animals must be maintained in good body condition and remedial action (veterinary attention, improved nutrition, or husbandry) taken when in poor condition, or when there are signs of significant distress, ill-health, disease, or injury. Any sick or injured animals should be treated or cared for to alleviate pain and distress as soon as practically possible.”


Feed and water:

“Animals should receive a daily diet adequate in composition and quantity, and containing appropriate nutrients to maintain good health, meet their physiological requirements, and avoid metabolic and nutritional disorders. Animals should have an adequate daily supply of water that is palatable.”



“All animals should have access to a clean and dry place. All surfaces and flooring should be non-slip, without sharp projections or edges likely to cause injury.”



“Each operation should have strategies to prevent overheating and excessive cooling. Animals should be protected from abrupt temperature fluctuations and cold drafts.”


Air quality:

“Air quality should be maintained by minimizing transmission of airborne infectious agents and preventing the build-up of noxious or harmful waste gases, and minimize dust particles.”



“Natural or artificial light (of an intensity of at least 20 lux) should be available in all buildings for a minimum of eight hours daily, and there should be a period of darkness sufficient to allow proper rest.”



“Housing should be constructed of fire-resistant materials, and electrical and fuel installations planned and fitted to minimize fire risk. Firefighting equipment and smoke detectors should be installed with sufficient exits to enable evacuation of the building in an emergency.”


Transport facilities:

“Facilities for loading, transporting, and unloading should be designed, constructed, and maintained to permit proper handling of animals and minimize risk of injury.”



The FARMS Initiative believes that health-oriented systems (including enriched, low-stress environments without overcrowding) must be used in lieu of antimicrobials, which must not be used routinely for prophylaxis or metaphylaxis.

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