Farmers’ Attitude Towards Animal Welfare Aspects and Their Practice in Organic Dairy Calf Rearing: a Case Study in Selected Nordic Farms
- First Online:
- 388 Downloads
In organic philosophy, the concept of “naturalness” is of major importance. According to the organic interpretation of animal welfare, natural living is considered a precondition for accomplishing welfare and the principal aims of organic production include the provision of natural living conditions for animals. However, respective regulations are lacking in organic legislation. In practice, the life of a calf in organic rearing systems can deviate from being natural, since common practices in dairy farms include early weaning, dehorning, or cow-calf separation soon after birth. This case study explores how calf welfare is approached in six different organic dairy farms and how far the concept of naturalness is implemented. The farms included in this study were located in Norway and Sweden. A semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The interviewed farmers approach the concept of welfare in various ways and state that “naturalness” is an aspect of animal welfare. However, in practice in the calf rearing systems under study, only a few “naturalness” aspects were implemented. Reasons for the observed discrepancy might lie in differing understandings of “naturalness,” in economic restrictions, and in other trade-offs resulting from production system inherent characteristics and in limited regulation concerning provision of natural living aspects.
KeywordsAnimal welfare Calf rearing Dairy Natural living Organic
- Algers, B. (1992). Natural behavior–a natural concept? Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift, 105(11), 372–374.Google Scholar
- Broom, D. M. (1991). Animal welfare: concepts and measurement. Journal of Animal Science, 69(10), 4167–4175.Google Scholar
- Commission Regulation 889/2008. (2008). Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. Official Journal of the European Union L, 250.Google Scholar
- Duncan, I. J. H. (1993). Welfare is to do with what animals feel. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 6(2), 8–14.Google Scholar
- Duncan, I. J. H. (1996). Animal welfare defined in terms of feelings. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica (Section A—Animal Science), 27(Suppl), 29–35.Google Scholar
- Duncan, I. J. H., & Fraser, D. (1997). Understanding animal welfare. In M. C. Appleby & B. O. Hughes (Eds.), Animal welfare (pp. 19–31). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar
- Field, T. G., & Taylor, R. E. (2007). Scientific farm animal production: An introduction to animal science (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Fraser, A. F., & Broom, D. M. (1997). Farm animal behaviour and welfare (3rd ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar
- Haynes, R. P. (2008). Animal welfare: Competing Conceptions and Their Ethical Implications. Springer.Google Scholar
- IFOAM (2005). The IFOAM norms for organic production and processing. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.Google Scholar
- IFOAM (2007a). Principles of organic agriculture. International federation of organic agriculture movements http://www.ifoam.org/about_ifoam/principles/index.htm. Accessed 7 Oct 2007.
- Lund, V., & Röcklinsberg, H. (2001). Outlining a concept of animal welfare for organic farming systems. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 14, 391–424.Google Scholar
- Wagenaar, J. P. T. M., & Langhout, J. (2007). Suckling systems in calf rearing in organic dairy farming in the Netherlands. Paper presented at 3rd QLIF Congress: Improving sustainability in organic and low input food production systems, university of Hohenheim, Germany, March 20–23, 2007. Organic eprints. Online. Available: http://orgprints.org/9851/.
- Waiblinger, S., Baumgartner, J., Kiley-Worthington, M., & Niebuhr, K. (2004). Applied ethology: The basis for improved animal welfare in organic farming. In M. Vaarst, S. Roderick, V. Lund, & W. Lockeretz (Eds.), Animal health and welfare in organic agriculture (pp. 117–162). Oxford: CABI Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Webster, J. (1994). Animal welfare: A cool eye towards Eden (1st ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Wemelsfelder, F., & Birke, L. (1997). Environmental challenge. In M. C. Appleby & B. O. Hughes (Eds.), Animal welfare (pp. 35–47). Wallingford, UK: CAB International.Google Scholar