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Animal health and welfare in organic livestock production in Europe: Current state and future challenges

Hovi, M., Sundrum, A. and Thamsborg, S. M. (2003) Animal health and welfare in organic livestock production in Europe: Current state and future challenges. Livestock Production Science, 80 (1-2). pp. 41-53. ISSN 0301-6226

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/S0301-6226(02)00320-2


Existing data on animal health and welfare in organic livestock production systems in the European Community countries are reviewed in the light of the demands and challenges of the recently implemented EU regulation on organic livestock production. The main conclusions and recommendations of a three-year networking project on organic livestock production are summarised and the future challenges to organic livestock production in terms of welfare and health management are discussed. The authors conclude that, whilst the available data are limited and the implementation of the EC regulation is relatively recent, there is little evidence to suggest that organic livestock management causes major threats to animal health and welfare in comparison with conventional systems. There are, however, some well-identified areas, like parasite control and balanced ration formulation, where efforts are needed to find solutions that meet with organic standard requirements and guarantee high levels of health and welfare. It is suggested that, whilst organic standards offer an implicit framework for animal health and welfare management, there is a need to solve apparent conflicts between the organic farming objectives in regard to environment, public health, farmer income and animal health and welfare. The key challenges for the future of organic livestock production in Europe are related to the feasibility of implementing improved husbandry inputs and the development of evidence-based decision support systems for health and feeding management.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:8697
Uncontrolled Keywords:animal health, animal welfare, organic livestock production, organic standards, review

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