Conference proceedings article
Organic livestock farming - A critical review



Publication Details
Authors:
Sundrum, A.
Publication year:
2001
Journal:
Livestock Production Science
Pages range:
207-215
Volume number:
67
Start page:
207
End page:
215
ISSN:
0301-6226

Abstract
Based on production guidelines, organic livestock farming has set itself the goal of establishing environmentally friendly production, sustaining animals in good health, realising high animal welfare standards, and producing products of high quality. By striving for these goals, organic livestock fanning meets the demands of an increasing number of consumers who are critical of conventional production methods. The paper gives an overview of the present state of the art in the different issues. Possibilities and limitations to perform the self-aimed goals under the basic standards of organic farming are discussed. Concerning environmental protection, the basic standards of organic farming are suited to reduce environmental pollution and nutrient losses on the farm level markedly. With reference to the health situation of dairy cows in both organic and conventional dairy farms, comparative studies show that currently there seem to be no fundamental differences between the production methods. In relation to animal welfare, organic livestock farming, based on minimal standards that go beyond the legislation standards, provide several preconditions for good living conditions of farm animals. Concerning product quality, there is little evidence for a system-related effect on product quality due to the production method. It is concluded that the benefits of the basic standards are primarily related to environmentally friendly production and to the animal welfare issue while the issues of animal health and product quality are more influenced by the specific farm management than by the production method. There is evidence to support the assumption that organic livestock farming creates stronger demands on the qualification of the farm management, including the higher risk of failure. As a consequence, quality assurance programs should be established to ensure that the high demands of the consumers are fulfilled. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science BN. All rights reserved.


Authors/Editors

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