Maximum animal welfare is a core concern in organic farming. With a view to improving animal welfare and making further progress in meeting animal welfare requirements, German and British organic farming associations have developed on-farm animal welfare assessment instruments. These instruments can be applied by the farmers themselves and in the context of organic inspections. In Switzerland, such aids are not yet available to organic farmers and inspectors. Two instruments have now been developed, namely the «Animal Welfare Checklist» and the «Animal Welfare Assessment Tool», which allow assessing and monitoring of animal welfare in beef production. The indicators used are derived from the scientific literature and combine animal observation (direct parameters) with measurements taken in animals’ environments (indirect parameters). Both instruments offer potential to improve animal welfare on organic farms without the need to amend standards, laws or regulations. Moreover, they enhance farmers’ knowledge of animal welfare issues and are set out so that they may also be used on non-organic holdings.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.