Animal Welfare in organic framing systems

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of farm animal welfare can, for practical purposes, be translated into the so-called Five Freedoms.[1] Organic farming aims to meet animal welfare needs and should therefore comply with these Freedoms. The first Freedom, from hunger and thirst, is met in any system properly managed to organic standards. The Freedom from thermal and physical discomfort is challenged as organic husbandry systems face more climatic extremes. However, they also provide more control to the animal by offering a choice when seeking warmth or a cool place to lie. The Freedom from pain, injury and disease is the most complicated one. Organic farming virtually bans mutilations (e.g. debeaking, tail docking), although some are still allowed and practised (e.g. castration). Organic animals are more exposed to wildlife and at risk of contracting infectious diseases. However, it is possible (although not proven) that organically managed animals are more resistant to illness. The Freedom to express normal behaviour is met through environmental enrichment and group housing. The Freedom from fear and distress is supported by e.g. extra (social) space. In conclusion, if animal health can be maintained, organic farming is very well placed to provide good animal welfare
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2741-2746
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • growing pigs
  • dairy herds
  • laying hens
  • behavior
  • health
  • calves
  • cows
  • associations
  • performance
  • management

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