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Animal welfare approaches and the concept of naturalness in organic dairy calf management

Vetouli, Theofano-Elissavet (2008) Animal welfare approaches and the concept of naturalness in organic dairy calf management. Masters thesis, University of Hohenheim , Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics. .

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The concept of animal welfare has been approached in variable ways throughout the scientific and philosophical world and no consensus seems to exist about what a quality of life is for animals in agricultural systems. Aim of the study is to compile and compare the different animal welfare approaches found across the literature and examine implications of the organic approach to welfare for the rearing of organic dairy calves. Three main approaches to animal welfare have been identified in the literature. According to the biological functioning approach, welfare is accomplished when the animals are healthy and productive. In the subjective feelings approach welfare is accomplished when the animals are feeling good. In the natural living approach a natural life is considered as a life of welfare, during which the animal is fulfilling its life by experiencing its inherent nature. The different approaches result from different underlying values and concerns about how animals ought to be treated reflecting how science based arguments are connected to ethical guidelines. In organic farming the concept of naturalness is of major importance. In the organic philosophy, animal welfare is interpreted in terms of natural living (natural behaviour, environment and feed), but in the organic regulations the naturalness related requirements in dairy calf rearing are limited. Furthermore, a case study was conducted in 12 dairy farms in Norway and Sweden, in order to examine how the concept of naturalness can be best implemented in organic dairy calf rearing. The results show that implementation of naturalness in dairy calf rearing depends on regulation, on the farmer’s perception of welfare and on economic restrictions. Elements of naturalness that could be further implemented in organic dairy calf rearing, include natural suckling, feeding milk ad libitum, space allowance, outdoor access and socializing possibilities. To determine the extent to which these elements of naturalness should be implemented in an organic dairy system, it is suggested that a definition of animal welfare and of naturalness is needed, in order to overcome the dilemmas existing between organic theory and practice.

EPrint Type:Thesis
Thesis Type:Masters
Keywords:animal welfare, organic dairy calf, naturalness, ANIPLAN
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Germany > University of Hohenheim > Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics
Deposited By: Henriksen, Britt I. F.
ID Code:18449
Deposited On:07 Apr 2011 08:45
Last Modified:07 Apr 2011 08:45
Document Language:English

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