Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by EU regulation

  • EC Council Regulation No. 2092/91
    • Annex VIII. Minimum livestock surface areas indoor and outdoors
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Free range conditions, access - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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The Swiss Ordinance on animal friendly husbandry defines the rules for organic farms in detail. Minimal hours and minimal amount of days for access to outdoor runs are required, further more minimal area per animal category are defined. Also in winter time access to the outdoors must be provided.
Swiss Ordinance requires bigger outdoor areas than the EU Regulation 2092/91 does. Equine 9 + 0,7 per 100 kg (EU only 3.7m2), Sheep and goats 4 m2 (EU only 2.5m2), Bovine /example adult female: 12 m2 (EU only 4.5 m2). The Swiss Ordinance furthermore requires access to outdoor runs in winter time, whereas EU Regulation does not. In order to support behavioural needs of animals and the rank dynamic in groups, outdoor runs must be big enough. If of insufficient size animals will not use these areas on a regular basis or fights for rank order will become dangerous for the animals due to lack of space.
Free range conditions, access, poultry - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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Outdoor access areas for laying hens must be within a radius of 150 m of the poultry barn. This regulation applies to all barns built since 23 April, 2001. (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 3.13.2)
The Bio Austria General Standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91, which defines the amount of the area but not the shape of the outdoor access. The shape is very important for adequate use of the outdoor access. Principle of animal welfare and health; protection of the environment, commitment to consumer expectations Studies performed in different European countries have shown that laying hens mainly use the area the immediately around the hen house. Areas beyond 150m are hardly used at all. As hens do not distribute themselves evenly throughout the hen run more distant areas would mean an increase of stocking density. This would lead in the remaining part to an increase of nutrients and increase the risk of infections.
Free range conditions, area - US NOP 2002
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There are no specific provisions for minimum livestock surface area, but natural behaviour must be accommodated.
EU Regulation 2092/91 specifies the minimum surface areas indoors and outdoors and other characteristics of housing in the different species and types of production. Both US and EU require outdoor access for any animals. US require in addition pasture for ruminants, allowing temporary confinement for inclement weather, an animal's stage of production, to protect the health, safety or well being of the animals or when there is a risk to soil or water quality. EU require pasture for herbivores 'wherever conditions allow'. EU waves outdoor access for herbivores in winter under certain conditions. No justification was available.
Free range conditions, area, cattle/sheep - NL Skal Standards 2005
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SKAL has set norms for the number of days dairy cows and sheep must be on pasture. SKAL rule Text: 2.3 article 5: Cows must spend at least 120 days on pasture, starting when they are 15 weeks or older. Dairy sheep must spend 180 days in pasture.
SKAL has set norms for the amount of days on pasture, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not defined the amount of days. All animals need time on pasture.
Free range conditions, pigs - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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All pigs for mast must always have access to exercise yards.
The BA Special Market Rules 2006 have more requirements with regard to outdoor access. Permanent and daily outdoor access is not required in EU Regulation 2092/91 (annex I B 8.3.8.). There is an exemption in annex I B 8.5.1 for existing buildings before 1999 until the year 2010. This exemption according to 8.5.1 of annex I B cannot be granted. The main reason for reduction is to create high consumer confidence. Another reason is that the permanent outdoor access is considered to be better for animal health.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, pigs - NL Skal Standards 2005
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Skal has set specific norms for sows and pigs (Rule Text: 2.6 article 7 and 8): A sufficient amount of maternity stables, a minimum of 4.4 m² per sow space to lie down in, a total minimum space of 7.2 m² per sow and 40 m² of unpaved outdoor area per sow is required. Indoors the surface area per pig must be 0.6 m². Per 20 kg pig 0.1 m² extra outdoor area is required.
Skal has set more detailed norms for sows and pigs, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not regulated these norms in detail. Annex VIII in the regulation only mentions 7.5 m2 per sow and 2.5 m2 unpaved outdoor area. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, poultry, NL Skal Standards
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Skal has defined the norms for turkeys (Rule text: 2.11 article 3, 4, 5 and 6): Turkey pullets must have access to 10 m² outdoor areas with shrubs and trees, during the daylight, when they are 8 weeks old, except from winter days in case of sickness. A maximum of 25 kg of animal per m² is allowed at any age. In the stable 50% of the surface must be available for scratching. Animals must have access to perches or elevations with a minimum length of 20 cm per animal. The stable must have openings to the pasture with a total length of 4 meter per 100 m² stable surface evenly distributed over the sides of the stable.
Stable and detailed outdoor requierements for turkeys are not defined in EU Regulation 2092/91 with the exception of the minimum outdoor area of Annex VIII (10 m² per head). All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, general requirements, poultry - NL Skal Standards 2005
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SKAL has set norms for poultry, concerning extension, space per animal, equipment, stocking rates. SKAL Rule Text: 2.4 article 1,2,3,4, 6 and 16: 8 week old hens must go outside, unless winter temperatures, with enough room to range freely and take a sandbath (2.5 m² per chicken). Only 7 young hens per m² stable are allowed. Shrubs and trees have to be present in the outdoor area. Per m² stable only 5 nests are allowed. 50% must be free-range area with dry bedding. Each hen must have 20 cm of perch. 1 nest per 6 hens must be available.
SKAL standards are more detailled compared to EU Regulation 2092/91. SKAL requires shrubs and trees to be present in the outdoor area and has further restrictions on animals per m² stable, on nests and perch space. EU is more general on open air runs (not specified for poultry) and is defining only the animlas per m² indoors and outdoors. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, general requirements, poultry - NL Skal Standards 2005
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SKAL has set specific norms for meat pullets. see SKAL Rule Text: 2.5 article 2 and 3: Pullets must have 1,5 m² per pullet outdoor area. 50% of the outdoor area must be covered with shrubs and trees. The total number of animals allowed per m² is 28 till the age of 2 weeks, 14 till the age of 6 weeks, and 7 starting from the age of 6 weeks.
SKAL standards are more detailled compared to EU Regulation 2092/91. SKAL requires shrubs and trees to be present in the outdoor area and is grading the maximum number of animals per m² depending on the age of the animals. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005 For fattening poultry not more than 2000 animals and for laying hens not more then 600 may be reared in one stable (towards end of fattening period max 500 poultry,for turkey max. 250 animals/stable, for geese and ducks max. 250 animals /stable). The number of animals per stable, the stocking density in-house, is lower in the Bio Suisse regulation compared to the EU Regulation 2092/91. EU defines the max number of animals per stable as 4800 poultry, 3000 laying hens, 5200 guinea fowl, etc. From an ethological point of view a lower number of animals per square meter and a lower maximum number of animals per stable is considered as more animal-friendly.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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DEMTER has to comply with the Swiss Ordinance on animal husbandry and rules the area of stable size in the same way as the latter. In the stable not more than 6 hens per m2 can be kept, additionally a wintergarden must be provided with 43m2 per 1000 animals and in addition to this there must be an outdoor area (pasture) of 5m2 per animal.
EU Regulation 2092/91 also requires no more than 6 animals/m2, but the size of wintergarden is not defined, and the size of pasture required is 4m2/animal which is less than the size required by Swiss Ordinance and therefore also by DEMETER. From an ethological point of view a lower number of animals per surface area and a lower maximum number of animals per stable is seen as more animal-friendly.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - FI Governmenal Regulation on organic animal production 2000 The minimum inside area for laying hens is one square meter for five hens. The EU Regulation 2092/91 allows six laying hens per one square meter. More area was required before the EU Regulation entered in to force in 2000. More area inside is preferable due to the long and cold winter period when it is necessary to keep the animals indoors.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - FR Regulation 2000
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The total usable area of poultry houses for laying hens and table poultry of any production unit must not exceed 1,600 m2.
French regulation limits the size of the total area of poultry house for laying hens and table poultry, whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 only limits it for table birds. We see no reason not to apply the same rules to laying hens as to table poultry. Limiting the size limits environnemental pollution, noise and odour. It is a way of encouraging small farms, of human scale that are socially acceptable and easier to hand down to the next generation.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - FR Regulation 2000
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The area of poultry houses for table birds on each production site must not exceed 400 m2.
French regulation limits the area of poultry house for table poultry whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 does not. Limiting the size limits environmental pollution, noise and odour. It lowers the risks of sanitary problems. It is more acceptable for nearby residents.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - Nature et Progres Standards 2002
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The total usable area of poultry houses for laying hens and table poultry of any production unit must not exceed 800 m2.
Nature et Progrès standards limit the size of the total area of poultry house for laying hens and table poultry to 800 m², whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 only limits it for table birds to 1600 m². Limiting the size limits environnemental pollution, noise and odour. It is a way of encouraging small farms, of human scale, with diversified productions, that are socially acceptable and easier to hand down to the next generation.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - Naturland 2005
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The maximum stocking density in aviaries is dependent on the individual housing system and must be agreed with the NATURLAND adviser. In no case should more than 12 hens/m² ground area be kept. (NL standards on production, Part B.II.1.5.1. laying hens)
The NATURLAND standard is more differentiated. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 the stocking density is calculated on the base of the area, which is accessible to the animals, and there is no specific restriction for aviary systems. However, in the EU Regulation there is the general requirement to ensure the well-being of the animals and adapt the indoors stocking density to the situation (Annex I.B.8.8.2.) To ensure the well-being of the animals and provide detailed rules adapted to the specific production system.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Soil Association standards have a set of maximum poultry housing densities, minimum space for perching per bird, and maximum number of birds per nest for laying chickens. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 20.7.3. Soil Association standards contain further restrictions than the EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards specify a maximum of 6 laying hens for each nesting box, while the EU Regulation figure is 8. Soil Association standards specify separate maximum housing stocking rates for turkeys and geese of 2 birds per sq. metre in fixed housing and 3 birds per sq. metre in mobile housing, but EU Regulations apply the same figure for all classes of poultry, i.e. 10 birds per sq. metre (fixed) and 16 birds per sq. metre (mobile), which are also the maximum densities for all other classes of poultry in the Soil Association standards. The Soil Association standards' lower maximum number of laying hens per nesting box is intended to ensure an adequate level of welfare for each bird by improving access to nesting boxes. The specific housing density requirements for turkeys and geese in Soil Association standards take account of the larger size of these birds. Although both sets of standards include the same maximum weight of birds per sq. metre of housing area, the specific maximum housing densities for turkeys and geese in Soil Association standards help to ensure adequate health and welfare conditions for these larger birds.
Livestock housing, nesting material, poultry - AT Bio Austria General Standard 2006
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The nests of laying hens must be provided with formable natural materials. (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 3.13, 1.1)
The Bio Austria General Standard is very detailed, while the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not say anything about the material of nests. Principle of animal welfare; principle of animal integrity. Behavioural priorities of laying hens, littered nests are preferred by laying hens. Litter satisfies behavioural requirements of laying hens by allowing moulding and other behaviours performed during egg laying.
Livestock housing, perches, poultry - NL Skal Standard 2005
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SKAL has made norms for the size, material and position of the perches for poultry. SKAL's interpretation of perches is as follows: the material has to be wood, metal, or plastic. It has to be at least 30 mm² thick and 50% has to be above ground level.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 only defines the number of hens per perch/ m² and is more general (referring in Annex I part B 8.1.1, 8.2.2, 8.4.3): "they must have perches of a size and number commensurate with the size of the group and of the birds as laid down in Annex VIII" All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing, rearing, pigs - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Soil Association standards include a number of specific requirements and conditions regarding the servicing, farrowing and weaning of pigs. Pig service pens have to be of at least 10.5 sq. metres per head. It is recommended to settle sows into farrowing accommodation well in advance of farrowing, to use farrowing arcs of area approx. 2.5m x 2m, and to use straw bedding. It is prohibited to use farrowing crates and to deny food or water to drying off sows. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 13.6.2 and 13.6.4. Soil Association standards are more specific than the EU Regulation 2092/91 to ensure adequate welfare for organic pigs. EU Regulation requires compliance with directive 91/630/EEC, which permits the use of farrowing crates, which is prohibited by SA standards. Farrowing crates are prohibited because they impose confinement that restricts movement and prevents natural behaviour tendencies.
Livestock housing, rearing, poultry - DE Bioland 2005
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The specific instructions for housing systems used for pullet rearing are concerning the maximum stocking density in relation to the stage of development of the animals (age / weight), the size of the scratching area, the characteristics of perching facilities and size of openings. Daylight is mandatory as well as a permanent accessible outdoor climate area for stocks of more than 200 animals or if the open air run covered with vegetation is less than 2.5m²/animal. If possible 1 cock shall be kept together with 100 hens. (Bioland production standards, 4.2 Requirements in the Keeping of Animals, 4.2.5 Poultry, 4.2.5.2. Young hens 4.2.5.2.1 - 4.2.5.2.3; Bioland production standards, 4.3 Dealing with animals, 4.3.2 Measures in the business)
The BIOLAND standard is more detailed. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not indicate specific instructions for rearing pullets at the moment. Consequently the general instructions concerning poultry housing apply. Specific rules are currently under development. In order to ensure the system to meet the specific needs of the animals, it must be adapted and appropriate to the animals stage of development. Consequently specific indications are needed. Chickens must have the opportunity to practice, at an early stage of development, the elements of natural behaviour in order to learn it. Disturbances in the behaviour of laying hens, which can lead to severe problems, should be avoided. Robustness and a natural immunisation against microorganisms present on the farm should be supported by providing outdoor access at an early stage of development.