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Assessment of Farm Animal Welfare using Organic Animal Husbandry Standards as Yardstick: A micro-level study in India

Pathak, Prabir Kumar and Chander, Mahesh (2011) Assessment of Farm Animal Welfare using Organic Animal Husbandry Standards as Yardstick: A micro-level study in India. In: Sang , Mok Sohn (Ed.) Prcoceedings of 6th IFOAM -Asia Scientific Conference on Organic agriculture, , Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Dankook University, pp. 95-104.

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Summary

Animal welfare has attracted widespread attention worldwide in recent times including within the conventional systems of intensive production in industrialized countries. It can be assessed in a number of ways, also, the yardstick of welfare may differ from people to people and region to region since OIE is only now considering development of more science-based internationally acceptable criteria for animal welfare. In this study, the organic livestock production standards, developed inter alia, the Government of India (GOI) under its National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP), were used to assess the practices being followed at farmers' level in India. Organic production standards are supposed to keep animal welfare as one of the top most requirements with no compromise on welfare issues. A micro-level study was conducted in Bankura district (22038′N-23038′N and 86036′E-87046′E) in India with 50 tribal and 50 non-tribal farmers practicing mixed crop-livestock farming. The farmers (average landholding 1.02 ha, average herd size 4.02 cattle equivalent), were asked about several animal welfare criteria including those for draft animals. It was found that almost all farmers, either, tribal or non-tribal provide shelter to animals against extreme weather conditions. Ninety percent of the farmers provided immediate treatment to sick animals and none of the farmers used sick animals at work. However, 26.46% of non tribals beat their animals at work. Nine point eighty-five percent of farmers confessed that they sometimes overload their animals. The average duration of work in summer, rainy season and winter was found to be 5.27 h, 7.09 h and 5 h, respectively. In the study, it was found that the welfare standards were well cared of though farmers were not organic per se, nor they have had any specific training or programme on animal welfare measures. It is recommended that the organic animal standards may be used as the yardstick to measure animal welfare even in conventional non-organic forms of livestock production systems as is demonstrated in the current study.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Subjects: Farming Systems
Animal husbandry
Values, standards and certification
Research affiliation: India
Deposited By: Chander, Dr Mahesh
ID Code:24264
Deposited On:23 Jan 2014 08:27
Last Modified:23 Jan 2014 08:27
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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