Organic Farming

Regulation on livestock

Regulation on livestock

Origin of the animals:

  • Organic livestock must be born and raised on organic farms.
  • For breeding purposes, non-organically raised animals may be brought onto a holding under specific conditions. Such animals and their products may be deemed organic after compliance with the conversion period referred to in Article 17(1)(c)
  • For animals existing on the holding at the beginning of the conversion period and their products may be deemed organic after compliance with the conversion period referred to in Article 17(1)(c);

Husbandry practices and housing conditions:

  • Personnel keeping animals must possess the necessary basic knowledge and skills as regards the health and the welfare needs of the animals
  • Particular attention should be paid to housing conditions, husbandry practices and stocking densities to ensure that the developmental, physiological and ethological needs of animals are met. Moreover, the choice of breeds should take account of their capacity to adapt to local conditions.
  • The number of livestock must be limited with a view to minimising overgrazing, poaching of soil, erosion, or pollution caused by animals or by the spreading of their manure.
  • Additionally, in order to avoid environmental pollution, in particular of natural resources such as the soil and water, organic production of livestock should in principle provide for a close relationship between such production and the land. Farmers can also develop suitable multiannual rotation systems, so that animals do not graze on the same field every year.
  • As organic stock farming is a land-related activity animals should have, whenever possible, access to open air or grazing areas.
  • Organic livestock must be kept separate from other livestock. However, grazing of common land by organic animals and of organic land by non-organic animals is permitted under certain restrictive conditions.
  • Tethering or isolating livestock is prohibited, unless for individual animals for a limited period of time, and in so far as this is justified for safety, welfare or veterinary reasons.
  • The duration of transport of livestock must be minimised to ensure the welfare of the animals.
  • Suffering, including mutilation, must be kept to a minimum during the entire life of the animal, including at the time of slaughter.


  • With regards to reproduction, natural methods must be used. Artificial insemination is however allowed.
  • Hormones or similar substances are not permitted, unless as a form of veterinary therapeutic treatment in case of an individual animal
  • Cloning animals and or transferring embryos is also strictly forbidden.
  • Farmers should choose appropriate breeds. This would prevent the animals from suffering. It would also avoid the need to mutilate the animals.


  • The feed for livestock should primarily be obtained in the farm where the animals are kept or from farms in the same region.
  • Farmers have to provide 100% organic feed to their cattle in order to market their products as organic or to use the EU logo.
  • Non-organic feed materials from plant origin, feed materials from animal and mineral origin, feed additives, certain products used in animal nutrition and processing aids can only be used if they have been authorised for use in organic production under

Article 16:

  • Farmers must also use minimal feed additives and processing aids. In some cases of essential need or for a particular nutritional purpose however, it is permitted to use additives.
  • Growth promoters and synthetic amino-acids are prohibited.
  • Suckling mammals must be fed with natural, preferably maternal, milk.

Disease prevention and veterinary treatment:

  • Farmers can prevent diseases by selecting the appropriate breed and strain. Choosing the appropriate stocking density and adequate housing maintained in hygienic conditions will also avoid illnesses. Livestock that receives high quality feed and exercise are also inclined to live healthier lives.
  • When the animals are ill, chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicinal products including antibiotics may be used where necessary and under strict conditions. This is only allowed when the use of phytotherapeutic, homeopathic and other products is inappropriate.
  • The use of immunological veterinary medicines is permitted.