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Bovine veterinarians’ perspective on organic livestock production in the USA
  1. Ulrike S Sorge1,
  2. Sarii Yamashita1 and
  3. Laura Pieper2
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
  2. 2Institute for Veterinary Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  1. E-mail for correspondence; laura.pieper{at}fu-berlin.de

Abstract

The objective was to determine possible challenge areas that bovine veterinarians may face when working on certified organic livestock operations. All members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners’ electronic mailing list, who practised in the USA, were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Veterinarians (n=213) from 38 states participated in the survey. The focus of the survey was on the veterinarian’s interest in and perception of organic farming, their knowledge of the use of alternative therapies under federal regulations and their needs for providing veterinary services to organic farms. Most participants worked in dairy practice and served ≥1 organic client. Their attitude towards organic production was balanced. Many veterinarians struggled to offer sick animal care with alternative therapies within the regulatory framework and expressed their need to have more evidence-based alternative therapies. Two-thirds of veterinarians were concerned that the lack of proven effective therapy options would impair livestock welfare on organic farms in the USA. Almost 90 per cent of respondents did not think that organic livestock was healthier than conventionally raised livestock and most participants (74 per cent) thought livestock health was dependent on management rather than organic or conventional farming practices. In summary, participants were generally not opposed to organic farming. However, most veterinarians expressed their need to have a better access to clear information about organic regulations and most importantly more evidence-based alternative therapies to ensure animal health and welfare on organic livestock operations.

  • organic livestock
  • veterinarian
  • survey
  • alternative therapy
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Footnotes

  • Funding The study was funded through start-up funds of the primary author.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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