Animal production systems are of great importance for the sustainability of rural economies and many ecosystems. Society’s demand for foodstuffs is growing at a higher rate than current levels of production due to population growth and the rise in average income. Over the last few years, some consumers have expressed increasing concern regarding the origins of their food, its social and ecological impacts, and the fairness of its production. There has been considerable growth in the number of organic livestock farms in response to the necessity to fulfill the growing demand for animal products predicted for 2050. Furthermore, it is required to combine it with the farms’ profitability, environmental protection, food safety, and ethical concerns. Due to this, organic livestock farms are nowadays not a despicable part of the census.
This book provides cutting-edge information to the understanding of organic animal husbandry and to exhibit practical solutions and innovative approaches, focusing mainly on research and practical understanding with organic farming. The present work aims to fill this knowledge gap, providing strategies and insights that will help stakeholders and policymakers to improve the sustainability of both the organic sector itself and that of the whole food system. The book provides insight into organic products, based on their perception that organic farming generates benefits associated with animal welfare, food quality, food safety, environmental concerns, and community development. The motivation for the consumption of products so-called organic is originated from the concern with the environment and conservation of natural resources. In contrast to the numerous studies conducted over these decades about the variation in nutrients and phytochemical levels in vegetables, fewer studies covered animal source food. The changing nutritional composition of animal source foods should be investigated to establish the real health benefits of an organic-based diet. In this book, reported studies are on the changes in the chemical composition of eggs, milk, dairy products and meat from animals reared from the organic system. It analyses organically produced foodstuffs in comparison to conventional foods and their possible impact on human health.
As the demand for organically grown, animal-derived produce is increasing due to a growing desire for consumer products that have minimal chemical inputs and high animal welfare standards. Evaluation of the scientific literature suggests that a major challenge facing organic animal production systems is the management and treatment of health-related issues. This book intends to investigate the available scientific literature on animal health and welfare in a number of different organic agriculture production systems, or sectors. The resulting information will identify where there is a need for a robust scientific approach to the evaluation of particular organic practices. This integrative knowledge and approach will help stakeholders and policymakers to make decisions, either at the farm level or making policies. Thus, they both will be able to design strategies that increase the sustainability, competitiveness, and success of organic livestock farms, looking at the sustainability of the food systems as a final and priority goal.