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Livestock Breeding

In its formulation of breeding objectives, organic farming often focuses on other priorities than conventional agriculture: Health, fertility and longevity of the animals are of high priority, as is product quality. This calls for breeding strategies primarily aimed at these objectives. Moreover, new breeding traits must be developed for robust animals that remain healthy and efficient producers under free-range conditions and in grassland systems. For ruminants, locally adapted breeding strategies must be developed, as ruminant feeding systems on organic farms are strongly site-dependent.

In some instances, conventional breeding strategies resort to techniques that are not consistent with the principles and objectives of organic farming. Therefore the ethical aspects of breeding strategies in organic farming must be subject to continuous debate, and the resultant recommendations need to be communicated.

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Anet Spengler Neff