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The use of animal-based health and welfare parameters – what is it all about?

Winckler, Christoph (2008) The use of animal-based health and welfare parameters – what is it all about? In: CORE Organic project nr. 1903 - ANIPLAN. CORE Organic project nr. 1903 - ANIPLAN, no. Report from 1st ANIPLAN project workshop. .

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Online at: http://aniplan.coreportal.org/gfx/Aniplan_samlet_low.pdf

Summary

Organic farming is characterized by several goals that are expressed in daily practices and in standards. Some of the important goals for organic production systems are naturalness, harmony on all levels of production, local recycling of resources, and the principle of precaution (Anonymous, 2002). For organic herds, good animal welfare is an explicit goal, and this includes that the overall goal for the organic farming systems regarding naturalness and harmony in the herd are met by giving the animals possibilities to perform natural behavior and achieve harmony within the group. Freedom for the animals to make as many choices as possible should be respected (Vaarst et al., 2004; Verhoog et al., 2002 & 2004). The production system is not sustainable if animals show evidence of pain, disease, or distress as a result of an inadequate system or disharmony between the animals and the system. Therefore it is of crucial importance to be able to assess and evaluate the animals’ response to the system.
This need is not only relevant for organic systems. Public concern about farm animal welfare has steadily grown during recent years. In this context, welfare assessment has many roles such as identifying current welfare problems, checking farm assurance and legislative requirements have been met, indicating risk factors leading to a welfare problem, testing the efficacy of interventions, formulating a product information/labelling system, or research tool for evaluating and comparing production systems, environments, management systems, animal genotype etc. (Whay, 2007).
Improvements in animal welfare may be achieved through (1) assessment of animal welfare, (2) identification of risk factors potentially leading to welfare problems and (3), interventions in response to the risk factors. In order to see whether the improvements have worked, it is furthermore important to be able to measure or assess the improvements and see if it has worked. In this process the animal based parameters help us to identify the animal’s response to the system, and therefore also the potential problems in this system.
It is the aim of this presentation to give an overview over concepts of welfare assessments, and animal based parameters, and present the ideas in the project Welfare Quality in order to create a background for understanding and discussing the use of animal based parameters in the current ANIPLAN project.


EPrint Type:Report chapter
Subjects: Food systems > Food security, food quality and human health
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic > ANIPLAN
Denmark > ICROFS - International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems
Deposited By: Holme, Ms. Mette
ID Code:13405
Deposited On:26 Jun 2008
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:37
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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