Secretariat

Annette Pontillo
Institute of Organic Farming

Trenthorst 32
23847 Westerau
Phone: +49 4539 8880 0
ol@thuenen.de



Animal Health in Organic Farming - Publications between 1991 and 2011

Project

 (c) Thünen-Institut/ OL

Analysis of knowledge concerning Animal Health in Organic Husbandry and concerning 100%

Organic Feeding of Monogastric Livestock - Part Animal Health

The aim of the study is to describe the status quo and to identify further research regarding animal health in organic husbandry by literature study.

Background and Objective

The organic animal husbandry should guarantee an excellent animal welfare. This is accompanied with a good health status. In order to optimize the aim of the research
for animal health in organic farming,
a review of literature was performed covering
the period from 1991 to 2011. The following livestock groups were recognized: cattle, pigs, poultry and small ruminants. The results will serve for practitioners and researchers as an evaluative summary of searchable publications. On the other hand problems should not only get identified but also recommendations for solutions should get described.

Approach

The literature on animal health in organic farming dealt with the sighting of relevant articles from national and international recognized scientific journals, reports and theses. But it was not only for items that affect organic farming, wanted, but also for similar studies that have been created in comparable systems of animal husbandry. The records were summarized in a table. This table contains references and summaries or abstracts also various filter options and reviews from a scientific perspective.

The search for literature on animal health in organic farming dealt with the sighting of relevant articles from international and national scientific journals, reports and theses. It was not only searched for items that affect organic farming, but also for similar studies that have been created in comparable systems of animal husbandry. The records were summarized in a table. This table contains references and summaries or abstracts and also various filter options and reviews from a scientific perspective.

Results

The state of knowledge has been described and derived research needs are drawn up. By means of a table this reviewed literature is generally accessible. The articles can get filtered by various criteria such as: to which species and productiontype, to the language or whether the study offers solutions. Although this table can only cover a selection of publications, one result is obvious: High-quality studies are currently sparse, especially for organic livestock. Their results would be enormously important for future developments. Investigations that lead to solutions for organic agriculture and the associated knowledge transfer are urgently needed.

Cattle

Only a small proportion of the studies concerned with the health of beef, young cattle and suckler cows. Future studies should consider these areas in order to recognize problems and avoid them. Most studies exist on animal health of dairy cows. There were no differences in animal health or the resistance situation between conventional and organic farms. Need for research on the improvement of animal health (e.g. mastitis, lameness) is also in organic husbandry. Studies should be carried out on the meaningful treatment at drying off by safeguarding animal health. Many studies ask if the extent of lower rates of treatment is close to better animal health. Risks (e.g. by passenger traffic) and measures to prevent the spread of infections in organic livestock production should be analyzed. Useful for future would be studies on pasture and grazing in regard to the life expectancy of cows and the parasite load. Objective indicators to describe the animal health should be developed.

Pigs

Increasingly, studies on problems and their solutions in the field of sows and piglets should be performed. Another important research field is the prevention of parasite load in outdoor husbandry and stabling. Possible risk factors arising from organic management and environmental influences and alternative measures for the prevention and control of diseases should be presented. The feasibility of the All In-All Out-System (to optimize the health status of a barn) under the provisions of organic farming should be investigated. The occurrence of other animal health aspects such as lameness or respiratory diseases and their relation to the organic husbandry must be analyzed and, if necessary, solutions are to be found. In addition, future studies on mortality rates of piglets and their causes in organic farming are of great importance.

Poultry

Scientific studies on animal health of turkeys and waterfowl in organic farming are rare. In chicken, there is a need for research in the prevention and control of infectious pathogens, taking into account the necessary access to open air areas. Alternative methods of disinfection and an attractive design of outdoor runs should be developed. Other aspects of animal health are for example the possible extent of performance-based feeding. Particularly important to investigate are the effects of prolonged fattening period and a reduction of damage caused by conspecifics. Influences of organic husbandry on the risk of foot pad dermatitis and possible mitigation strategies must be found. The development of objectively measurable indicators to record the welfare of poultry is of great importance.

Small ruminants

In the encountered literature there are only a small number of studies on the health of rearing lambs and the fattening of small ruminants. Future research is needed, especially in preventive and alternative methods for parasite control. Furthermore, studies on alternative treatment methods such as Homeopathy should be performed. The development of standards for husbandry of horned goats and studies on genetically hornless goats are important.

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Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Food und Agriculture (BMEL)
    (national, öffentlich)

Duration

7.2011 - 12.2011

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 10OE089
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft (BÖLN)
Project status: finished

Publications

hits: 3

  1. Bender S, Koopmann R, Simoneit C (2013) Wissensstandanalyse zur Tiergesundheit ausgewählter Nutztierarten im Ökologischen Landbau. In: Neuhoff D, Stumm C, Ziegler S, Rahmann G, Hamm U, Köpke U (eds) Beiträge zur 12. Wissenschaftstagung Ökologischer Landbau : Ideal und Wirklichkeit: Perspektiven ökologischer Landbewirtschaftung . Berlin: Köster, pp 454-457
  2. Simoneit C, Bender S, Koopmann R (2012) Quantitative and qualitative overview and assessment of literature on animal health in organic farming between 1991 and 2011 - Part 1: general and cattle. Landbauforsch 62(3):97-104
    pdf document 126 kb
  3. Simoneit C, Bender S, Koopmann R (2012) Quantitative and qualitative overview and assessment of literature on animal health in organic farming between 1991 and 2011 - Part 2: pigs, poultry, others. Landbauforsch 62(3):105-110
    pdf document 106 kb