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Farmer satisfaction and animal welfare - insights from a sample of organic multi-species livestock farms in seven European countries

Schanz, Lisa; Winckler, Christoph and Oehen, Bernadette (2021) Farmer satisfaction and animal welfare - insights from a sample of organic multi-species livestock farms in seven European countries. Speech at: One Welfare World Conference, online, 15-16th of September 2021.

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Summary

For farming to become more sustainable it is not only necessary to find ways to reduce the impact of farming on soils and environment, but also to increase the satisfaction of farmers with their work as well as the welfare of their animals. In the media social sustainably is often connected to gender equality, work load or mental health status and the need for improvement. Farmers worldwide have a higher rate of mental illness and even suicide than many other occupational sectors.
Framed by a modernisation paradigm implemented in the European Agricultural Policy, most farms have become more specialised, focusing on one or two production types, compared to before when very diverse, mixed farms with many smaller production types
used to be very common. The benefits of diversifying crop production are well documented, whereas the diversification in livestock production has so far rarely been investigated. To investigate farmer satisfaction and related aspects as an indicator of social sustainability we interviewed 106 multi-species organic livestock farmers in 7 European countries characterising each farm by asking qualitative and quantitative questions, for example about management practices, products, workload and animals.
In our non-representative sample of multi-species livestock farmers most were highly satisfied with their work, their income and their animals’ welfare even though farmers often had physically taxing work, a high workload and experienced a high level of complexity in the farm management. Many farmers mentioned that they enjoy the complexity as well as working with their animals, especially with different species, and that they feel responsible for their animals’ welfare. Farmers appreciated the diversity of tasks related to a multispecies livestock farming, as well as the opportunity to learn by e.g. participating in various training courses in a year. The high workload, often increased by farming with more than one livestock species, is distributed when needed among (available) family members or the farmers’ social network (e.g. neighbours, friends or customers).
Organic multi-species livestock farming could be a promising strategy for farmers to increase sustainability on various levels, including their own satisfaction and possibly their animals’ welfare. However, currently it is unknown how many organic multi-species farms exist in Europe and a representative, and possibly comparative interview with both specialised and multi-species livestock farmers could reveal interesting insights and verify results found in our sample.


EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Speech
Keywords:farmer satisfaction, multi-species, organic, livestock
Agrovoc keywords:
Language
Value
URI
English
organic agriculture
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_15911
English
mixed farming
http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_4873
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic Cofund > Mix-Enable
Austria
European Union
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland
H2020 or FP7 Grant Agreement Number:727495
Deposited By: Schanz, Lisa
ID Code:42422
Deposited On:29 Oct 2021 13:30
Last Modified:29 Oct 2021 13:30
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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