Organic farming has gained great weight in the industry as it is a trend in this sector. This type of livestock farming has as its main pillar the link between the animals and the physical environment . This link is based on the animals’ access to areas located in the open air with organic food . Product of this form of livestock, the final consumer receives fresh food of a higher quality , and a much greater respect for the environment is achieved than in other types of livestock.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food , the 10% of the agricultural area in Spain is already organic, exceeding 2.4 million hectares, and by 2030 the aim is to ensure that 25% of agricultural land is destined for organic production, being a clear example of the current importance of the demand for organic products and the interest in maintaining environment.
In this article we will talk about what organic farming consists of , its importance in the primary sector and what it tries to achieve.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming focuses on obtaining animal products of superior quality, both in terms of nutrition and health. The main bases of organic farming are to maintain animal welfare throughout production, completely avoid the use of synthetic chemical substances , minimize human impact as much as possible while respecting the environment .
Organic farming is distinguished from traditional farming by a legal framework that facilitates the control and operation of the process in order to transmit confidence and security to consumers about the quality of their products and the specific processes that they undergo at the time of their production. .
Organic farming requirements
As we have already seen, organic farming, more specifically animal husbandry, focuses on the link between animals and the physical environment , keeping animals in an open-air area and with organic food. For a livestock to be considered organic, its development must be based on the following bases:
It is the main requirement for the development of organic farming, completely avoiding the use of closed stables , typical of intensive farming. The animals will have to have a more or less large outdoor space and that there should not be a high density of animals per hectare. In this way it is guaranteed that the animals are in a comfortable space , avoiding their stress.
Breeding in organic farming
The animals that are available in this type of livestock will be raised in compliance with the rules of organic production, following an organic diet, with minimal human impact, a large outdoor space, giving rise to the most natural possible breeding .
Breeds in organic farming
The breeds that will be used for organic livestock production are selected, choosing those that are more adapted to the environment where the production is located and are more resistant to possible diseases.
The food will focus entirely on organic products, free of pesticides and chemicals , and if possible they must have been produced on the same site as the production.
Veterinary care in organic farming
Regarding veterinary care, they must be based on prevention to avoid possible diseases that animals may contract, and if they need some treatments, these must be natural, avoiding antibiotic treatments.
In organic farming, the use of substances intended to stimulate the growth of animals artificially, such as hormones or the reproduction of the animals themselves, is completely prohibited .
Animal welfare in organic farming
The welfare of the animals is a very important part of organic farming, and practices such as tail docking, dehorning or trimming beaks and teeth will only be valid for reasons of hygiene, health or safety. The animals must maintain an optimal state, without being tied and with facilities suitable for breeding. For the transport of animals, a minimum of animal welfare must be maintained, avoiding as much as possible the stress they may suffer. Ecological livestock production, despite maintaining a more careful process compared to traditional livestock, offers great benefits on the quality of the final product , offering a higher quality free of antibiotics, chemical substances and hormonal alterations that reduce nutritional levels. In addition, it is worth noting its great importance in maintaining a balance in the environment.