Organic welfare

National task force studying animal welfare on organic farms.

Andres and Dr. Hubert Karreman spoke at Farmers week in Elmwood during the Ecological Afternoon part about the treatment of livestock, specifically cattle, by organic farmers.

“Animal welfare is not the same as animal rights,” Karreman added.

Andres thinks the issue is “urgent and important” for organic farmers to look at and think about. He says a lot of harm that is done to animals comes from tradition. “Farmers say ‘our father always tied a new calf in the dark corner of the barn with binder twine’ and so the farmer’s son says ‘what’s wrong with that because I’ve been doing the same for 20 or 30 years.”

But Andres says there is something wrong with that, especially since most organic farmers have more visitors, mostly urban, who want to see where their food comes from. “Consumers are hoping you are doing the right thing,” he added. “What do you think organic consumers would think of seeing you chopping off cows’ horns without painkillers?” he asked.

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