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Book of Abstracts

11th IFOAM
Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996
Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract front page
Subject index
Athor index

Extra Papers

Assessing animal welfare on organic farms E15

Sundrum, A.1 & Daase, I.2

1) Institute of Organic Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, D-53115 Bonn, Germany; 2) Institute of Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, D-53115 Bonn, Germany

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In Western European countries animal welfare is one of the main topics of animal husbandry in organic agriculture. An increasing number of consumers accept a high standard of animal welfare as a »process quality«, closely linked to animals products and justifying premium prices. To preserve confidence in organic products it becomes more and more relevant to ensure animal welfare appropriate conditions on organic farms. The code of practise provide several preconditions for high welfare standards, but are not necessarily a guarantee for appropriate housing conditions. Based on the idea of Bartussek (1988), an indirect and integrative approach has been developed for cattle, swine and poultry in order to establish: 1) a guideline to find the weakpoints within housing conditions and management, 2) a concept for a comparabel assessment between individual farms and 3) a tool to enhance advisory success (Sundrum et al., 1994). Investigations were carried out on 64 organic dairy farms in Germany, including 38 tied herds and 26 loose-housed herds. In general the farms showed a wide variation in animal welfare standards, ranging from 18-93% of the maximum reachable points. Tied herds showed significantly more inadeaquate housing conditions than loose-housed herds. 13% of the tied herds didnt correspond to the national code of practise. 76% of the tied herds and 15% of the loosed-housed herds showed poor animal welfare standards. Deficiencies were found especially according to floor space, bedding comfort and animal hygiene. No relationsship was found between animal welfare standards and flock size.

The results indicate that it will be necessary to improve and control housing conditions on organic dairy farms, when confidence of the consumers should get lost. In most of the cases improvements can be reached without large financial investments but by enhancing management qualtities.

Bartussek, H. (1988): Haltung. In: Haiger, A., R. Storhas and H. Bartussek (eds.): Naturgemäße Viehwirtschaft. Ulmer-Verlag, ISBN 3-8001-4359-3, p.147.

Sundrum, A., R. Andersson and G. Postler (1994): Tiergerechtheitsindex - 200/1994. Ein Leitfaden zur Beurteilung von Haltungssystemen. Köllen-Verlag, Bonn, ISBN 3-88579-066-1.