Themes and discussion

Find out more about organic arable farming and organic livestock husbandry, join the discussions, and exchange ideas and information with colleagues and scientists.

Animal health

Animal health

One of the objectives of organic farming is to keep livestock healthy as a matter of principle, primarily by taking preventive measures. Livestock health depends on a range of factors such as the environment, feeding, housing, social behaviour within the herd or flock as well as general management and husbandry. Holistic animal health strategies consider all these factors; together, they underpin preventive herd/flock health management.

When food-producing animals fall ill they are largely treated using orthodox veterinary medicines, such as antibiotics. However, frequent use of antibiotics results in the development of antibiotics-resistant micro-organisms and these are now often found in farm animals. Moreover, via the animals’ faeces and urine such antibiotics-resistant micro-organisms are discharged into the environment where they may only slowly degrade.

In organic farming, preference is to be given to treating sick animals using complementary veterinary practices (e.g. phytotherapy or homoeopathy). Chemically-synthesized veterinary medication is to be reduced to a minimum and should only be resorted to in emergencies.

On this page, you can find tools and resources to help you keep your livestock healthy, and you can discuss the topic with others.



Tools

TitleIssuing organisationYear of releaseRating
Feeding grass silage to fattening pigs (OK-Net Ecofeed Practice Abstract)Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)20194.3 (3)
Improving health and welfare of pigs - A handbook for organic pig farmersResearch Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)2015
Planting an outdoor area for organic laying hensØkologisk Landsforening2015