Replacing antibiotics in organic – Handbook on Animal Health and Welfare Protocol (AHWP)

Do you know mastitis (inflammation of the udder) is one of the main reasons for antibiotic treatments on European organic farms? But frequent antibiotic use causes resistant micro-organisms.

Using antibiotics is strictly restricted in organic farming and organic farmers instead implement a systemic approach to control and prevent disease. They seek to strengthen the animals’ immune system through careful hygiene, combined with a husbandry and feeding regime adapted to the animals’ needs to avoid overuse of medication. However, in exceptional cases, organic farmers are allowed to use antibiotics to ensure a sick animal’s welfare is not in danger.

To limit even more this exceptional use of antibiotics, one of RELACS project’s work packages looks into providing solutions to further support livestock health and welfare, by searching for alternatives.  

Two of RELACS’ project partners, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and ITAB, recently published a Handbook on Animal Health and Welfare Protocol. This publication is based on the knowledge and experience of former projects, in particular the Core Organic ANIPLAN-Project, and the principles of health planning processes. It has been developed by a team of farming advisors, veterinary practitioners and on-farm researchers in preventive veterinary medicine. The protocol will be useful for less experienced advisors in the organic dairy sector.

Read the improved RELACS-Animal Health and Welfare Protocol (AHWP).

Visit the RELACS website to learn more and follow the latest project’s developments on Twitter and Facebook using @RELACSeu and #RELACSeu.

RELACS seeks to promote the development and adoption of environmentally safe and economically viable tools and technologies to reduce the use of external inputs in organic farming systems. IFOAM Organics Europe is responsible for the communication and dissemination of project results as well as the coordination of the science-practice-policy dialogue.

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RELACS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773431. This communication only reflects the author’s view. The Research Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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