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Organic livestock farming – a critical review

Sundrum, Albert (2001) Organic livestock farming – a critical review. Livestock Production Science, 67 (3), pp. 207-215.

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Document available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0301-6226(00)00188-3


Based on production guidelines, organic livestock farming has set itself the goal to establish an environmentally friendly production, to sustain animals in good health, to realise high animal welfare standards, and to produce products of high quality. By striving for these goals, organic livestock farming meets the demands of an increasing number of consumers, which are critical towards the conventional production methods. The paper gives an overview of the present state of the art in the different issues. Possibilities and limitations to perform the self-aimed goals under the basic standards of organic farming are discussed.
Concerning environmental protection, the basic standards of organic farming are suited to reduce environmental pollution and nutrient losses on the farm level markedly. With reference to the health situation of dairy cows in both organic and conventional dairy farms, comparative studies show that currently there seem to be no fundamental differences between the production methods. In relation to animal welfare, organic livestock farming, based on minimal standards that go beyond the legislation standards, provide several preconditions for good living conditions of farm animals. Concerning product quality, there is little evidence for a system-related effect on product quality due to the production method.
It is concluded that the benefits of the basic standards are primarily related to environmentally friendly production and to the animal welfare issue while the issues of animal health and product quality are more influenced by the specific farm management than by the production method. There is evidence to support the assumption that organic livestock farming creates stronger demands on the qualification of the farm management, including the higher risk of failure. As a consequence, quality assurance programs should be established to ensure that the high demands of the consumers are fulfilled.
(SUNDRUM, A. (2001): Organic livestock farming - A critical review. Livestock Production Science 67, 207-215)

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Animal health, animal welfare, product quality, environmental production in organic livestock farming
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health
Deposited By: Sundrum, Prof. Dr. Albert
ID Code:923
Deposited On:14 Oct 2003
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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