OSCII Theme D: Livestock

Optimizing animal health and welfare for productivity and quality

The organic standards for organic livestock production are unique in that they not only establish production guidelines, but they also address animal welfare and potential risks outside of production.

Dairy production is a very valuable part of the organic sector, particularly in Québec, Ontario, British Columbia and more recently in Alberta, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. The comfort and welfare of livestock is essential to minimize risk of illness and maintain productivity in a sustainable fashion. Permitted treatments are needed that prevent and treat diseases, especially mastitis. As such research in this Theme will include:

  • Evaluation of bedding alternatives (Activity D.42) and exercise and tie stall configuration for animal health and well-being (Activity D.43).
  • Evaluation and testing of alternative therapies for treating mastitis (Activity D.44) and bioactives for treating parasites (Activity D.45).

Organic poultry markets are considerable and untapped in Canada. Yet, poultry production in Canada and in the United States is facing constraints as the consequences of poultry production on environmental, food safety and animal welfare issues are now part of consumers’ considerations and demands. For organic broiler production, efficient and economical methods to maintain gut heath and to reduce the risks to public health and negative impacts of production on the environment are needed. The use of polyphenol-rich fruit pomaces, generated from the processing of important organic commercial crops, for the improvement of poultry gut health and reducing the risk of disease poses a significant opportunity for removing a barrier to organic poultry production. As such, this Theme also includes:

  • Fruit pomaces to improve immunity and health of organic chickens (Activity D.46).

Activities of Theme D

  • Activity D.42: Development of sustainable alternative sources of bedding for dairy cows
  • Activity D.43: Effect of exercise and stall modifications on cow comfort and performance in tie-stall farms
  • Activity D.44: Evaluating alternative therapies for the treatment of clinical mastitis on organic dairies
  • Activity D.45: Bioactive products from plants and control of internal and external parasites in large ruminants
  • Activity D.46: Fruit pomaces to improve immunity and health of organic chickens