Organic Rules and Certification

Livestock management, physical operations/mutilations - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005

Padel, Susanne and Lowman, Steve (2005) Livestock management, physical operations/mutilations - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005. [Organic rules - Differences between other regulations/standards and EEC No 2092/91]

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Summary

Soil Association standards include a number of detailed requirements and restrictions relating to operations involving physical mutilation of different classes of livestock. Soil Association standards allow the disbudding or castration of calves, and the tail docking or castration of sheep and goats, on condition that these practices are justified for welfare reasons. Soil Association standards require such operations to be detailed in the animal health plan, and in this latter requirement, they comply with UK Compendium of Organic Standards, Paragraph 6.1.2. Disbudding of calves is permitted only up to 3 months old and castration of calves only to 2 months. Use of a rubber ring for the castration of calves, and for the castration or tail docking of sheep and goats, is permitted without anaesthetic only within the first week of life, after which, anaesthetic is required. For tail docking or castration of sheep and goats, the burdizzo method is permitted up to 6 weeks old, and use of a hot iron is permitted between 3 and 6 weeks old. Castration of pigs is permitted only with Soil Association permission in exceptional circumstances, and castrated pigs may not be sold as organic. Deer antlers may be removed only with Soil Association permission, which will only be given on grounds of safety or welfare, and in any case, not when the antlers are in velvet. No other mutilating operations are permitted in Soil Association standards. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 11.5.12 - 11.5.15, 12.2.1, 12.2.2, 13.2.2, 14.3.2 and 20.5.4.)

Difference

Soil Association standards contain detailed rules that EU Regulation 2092/91 explicitly permits inspection bodies to set.

Justification

The Soil Association rules on livestock mutilating operations are designed to minimise animal welfare problems in the context of the culture and conditions in which livestock are kept in the UK. The aim is to allow only those types of mutilation that are widely practised in UK agriculture and only if they can be carried out without excessive pain and can be justified on the grounds of animal welfare. The rules are detailed for each class of livestock by the Soil Association standards, which is enabled by the discretion permitted for inspection bodies within the EU Regulation.

EU Regulation

Annex I. Principles of organic production and processing > B.Livestock and livestock products - Annex I B > Animal husbandry, management, transport, identification of livestock products/slaughter - Annex I B6

Item type:Organic rules - Differences between other regulations/standards and EEC No 2092/91
Subjects:Animal husbandry > Veterinary treatment
Animal husbandry > Animal health management
Specific animal standards
Country/Standard: Europe > UK > Soil Association Organic Standards
Principles:Principle of fairness
Principle of health
ID Code:195
Deposited By:INVALID USER
Deposited On:18 Dec 2005
Last Modified:16 Apr 2010 13:00

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