Organic methods of production are designed as a more environmentally friendly means of production. This is a fine benefit for horticulture, but not for animal agriculture.

To get an organic certification, a farmer use of antibiotics and other medicines are severely restricted. Bloat, mastitis, parasites and other diseases are all quite common in cattle, and the first point of treatment for these is sometimes homoeopathy  This means the animals are left to suffer until their condition deteriorates enough to demand proper health care. This isn’t only in cattle, it translates across all farm animals, where preventative medicines and vaccines are not allowed.

While organic farming may be marketed as more friendly, these farmers still see their animals as production units, just like any other farmer. Animals are often sourced from the same place as non-organically farmed animals, and if not, they still use the exact same methods. For hens and dairy cows, where only the 50% born the right gender are useful for the industry, the others are still killed at birth or early in their life. When an animals production decreases, or the animal reaches slaughter weight, they are killed, just like every non-organically farmed animal. While their lives may be marginally different, their deaths are exactly the same.

Any environmental benefits provided by organic methods fall short in the face of ruminants. While land use and effluent management are done in ways to minimise the impact of farming on the local environment, cattle and sheep are natural methane producers. Methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, is naturally produce by cattle and sheep when they digest their food. There is no way to change this fact simply by changing farming methods, and so no way to effectively reduce the environmental impact of farming, by adopting a organic method of production.

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