Organic Animal Husbandry
Responsibility, Respect and Relationship
Today, industrial style animal husbandry views animals as mere economic, productive units. In short, as capital!
Industrial concepts govern the farming world.
If it is our intention to reconvert a farm to more ethically sound methods the first thing we need to do is to realize that our animals are living creatures, an integral parts of nature and not a code number that can be punched into a computer to retrieve all the data about the animal without even seeing it.
We have to return to the basic relationship between animals and man.
Raising animals is more difficult than growing plants because they have a higher evolutionary state an d this forces us to take an extra factor into account: Raising animals is more difficult than growing plants because they have a higher evolutionary state an d this forces us to take an extra factor into account: their behaviour and social interactions.
The farmer has to provide the right physical environment (the right sort of stables and healthy places to live), biological environment (alimentation, sexuality…) and social environment (herd structure, territory, hierarchy…) if they want to obtain healthy animals. A good farmer has to take these three aspects into consideration and develop a special sensitivity so he can be aware of how his animals are feeling and anticipate their needs. All living beings reproduce themselves, feed themselves and interact with others; we have to respect their fundamental nature.
It is fundamental that the breeds we use are well adapted to the environments in which they live. We cannot forget climate; a very productive animal that is susceptible to cold couldn't resist the harsh conditions of a cold mountainous region. There are breeds for mountainous regions and breeds for the valleys. The herd has to be part of its ecosystem.
The underlying concepts for the correct feeding of an animal must be respectful of its physiology (metabolism, age, health…) and not just designed for high productivity at any cost. It is the farmer's responsibility to offer healthy food products, free of all traces of harmful substances.
When we study animal behaviour we learn that each species has its own well-defined, complex social structure. If we don't respect this structure, we will impair
the harmonic growth of the individual animals. In this case, ruminants are gregarious animals that live in herds of mothers and babies, while the males are solitary and only join the herds in the mating season. The group hierarchy makes it essential that the compounds and stables have enough space to allow group cohesion to develop. The mothers must have space to allow them to separate themselves from the herd for a time when they give birth so that they can look after the newborn calves correctly and give them the colostrums.
Organic animal husbandry is nothing like industrial farming because, as well as incorporating the study of science and biology, it also relies on Human Sensibility.
WITHOUT DOUBT, CONSIDERACION AND RESPECT
OF OUR CONSUMERS, OF OUR ANIMALS
AND OF THE ENVIRAMENT ARE THE REASON
FOR OUR ORGANIC PRODUCTION
Consello Regulador Agricultura Ecolóxica GALICIA:
The organisation that is for controlling and certifying
organic production in Galicia