Estimation of Beef and Dairy Cattle Welfare in Organic Farms of Lithuania

Institute of Animal Sciences of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Street R. Žebenkos g. 12, LT-82317 Baisogalacity, Radviliškis district, Lithuania


STUOGĖ, I., V. RIBIKAUSKAS, D. RIBIKAUSKIENĖ, R. JUODKA and Z. JOMANTAS, 2016. Estimation of beef and dairy cattle welfare in organic farms of Lithuania. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 22: 477–481

Organic farming is a very important sector of agriculture in Lithuania. The adoption of organic farming is important because this method of farming creates potential possibilities to solve the issues of competitiveness of husbandry production, employment and additional income in the rural areas. Besides it helps to reduce the negative effects on the environment of Lithuania and supplies the consumer with healthier food products.
The welfare of animals concerns not simply stress, experienced by an animal, but its ability to manage stress, whether it is physical or mental stress. Welfare can be ranked; there is not simply good or bad welfare, but many gradations of wellbeing of animals.
The aim of the study was to analyze and evaluate the environment and welfare of beef and dairy cattle on organic farms. The studies were conducted on four organic farms located in different regions of the country and at the Institute of Animal Sciences of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Deep litter and cubicle housing technologies were applied for beef and dairy cattle, respectively.
Cattle welfare and health studies were carried out on the basis of ANI 35 L/2000 system. Deep litter housing was evaluated more favourably in comparison with cubicle housing on the organic farms. The estimation of barns with deep litter housing was average 35.25 points or “very suitable” versus 24.33 points or “suitable” for cubicle housing. Correspondingly, animal welfare was evaluated as “excellent” and “very good”.
The microenvironment of barns, cleanliness of equipment, and animal health of all four organic farms were similar in evaluation.

Key words: organic farming, animal welfare, beef and dairy cattle

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