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Animal welfare on organic mixed livestock farms across seven European countries


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Schanz, Lisa; MOERMAN, Marie and Winckler, Christoph (2020) Animal welfare on organic mixed livestock farms across seven European countries. In: Organic Animal Husbandry systems – challenges, performance and potentials, -111.

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Online at: https://www.ifoam.bio/sites/default/files/2020-09/IAHA-Video-Conference_Livestock_OWC2020-proceedings-2020.pdf


Over the last decades, farms have become more specialised. This creates challenges on different levels - for example, nutrient deficiencies in the soil or financial instability due to market price fluctuations. As the call for more sustainable farming has become louder alternatives
have been explored, such as more diversified farming by keeping several livestock species and thereby for example increasing financial stability. Keeping several livestock species on one farm may impact the welfare of the animals, which is one dimension of sustainable farming - for example, in terms of animal health or social acceptance of animal products for sale. To gain a more thorough understanding of the benefits, challenges and management practises on organic mixed livestock farms we conducted interviews with 119 farmers in seven European
countries. Various topics were broached to characterise each farm, by asking qualitative and quantitative questions, thereby producing answers to a total of more than 100 items per
farm. Our animal welfare data includes housing conditions, pasture management, veterinary
treatments and costs, mortality rate, time that farmers spend with their animals and farmers’
perception of their animals’ welfare. For this contribution, we make a comparison between
countries and focus on farms with two combinations of animals, i.e. beef cattle with meat sheep (in France and Sweden) and beef cattle with poultry (in France and Germany). Preliminary descriptive analysis revealed some differences between countries in both combinations for various parameters of animal welfare. However, variation may mostly be explained by climatic differences and farming types (e.g. intensive vs. extensive grazing strategies) and therefore it is not possible to form firm conclusions regarding the animals’ welfare in mixed livestock farms.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:animal welfare, mixed, livestock, Europe
Subjects: Farming Systems
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > GreenResilient
European Union
European Union > CORE Organic Cofund
Deposited By: MOERMAN, Mrs Marie
ID Code:38439
Deposited On:29 Sep 2020 08:54
Last Modified:29 Sep 2020 08:54
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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