Farmers concerns in relation to organic livestock production

Carmen L. Manuelian, Sophie Valleix, Héloïse Bugaut, Birgit Fuerst-Waltl, Luciana da Costa, Sara Burbi, Ulrich Schmutz, Adrian Evans, Nikolaos Katsoulas, Sofia Faliagka, Uygun Aksoy, Özge Çiçekli, Danuta Dróżdż, Krystyna Malińska, Lindsay Whistance, Marion Johnson, Lucas Knebl, Federico Righi, Massimo De Marchi

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The study describes organic producers’ perceptions of organic livestock production, product commercialisation, use of contentious inputs such as allopathic antibiotics, antiparasitics and vitamins and bedding materials availability in Mediterranean (MED) and North/Western European (NWE) countries. A total of 426 MED (46.2%) and NWE (53.8%) responses were analysed revealing more difficulty finding information on alternatives to antiparasitics and antibiotics than on bedding materials. They identified ‘feeding/nutrition’, ‘animal health’ and ‘welfare’ as the most relevant topics in their farms. Whereas ruminants and monogastrics farmers in the NWE region also indicated ‘organic regulation’ as relevant, farmers rearing ruminant species in the MED region identified farm profitability and commercialisation. Farmers still mainly relied in conventional treatments but they often applied phytotherapy, although >61% of the participants did not treat their animals in the last year. If treated, most of them administered on average one course of antibiotic treatment per animal (>62%). In the MED region, the main sources of information on alternative treatments were veterinarians (>60%) and the Internet (>32%). In the NWE region, it was other farmers for producers including ruminant species (>63%) and veterinarians (>77%) for monogastric farmers. In the NWE region, direct commercialisation and through a cooperative and/or food industry were the most frequent channel used; while, in the MED region, they were the food industry and/or direct commercialisation. In conclusion, this survey provides novel cross-European insights into organic livestock producers' concerns. A particular value of the survey is that MED countries, which are often underrepresented, were well sampled.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268-1282
Number of pages15
JournalItalian Journal of Animal Science
Issue number1
Early online date9 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (,which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.


C.L. Manuelian is currently a postdoctoral researcher funded with a María Zambrano grant from the Spanish Ministry of Universities (funded by European Union-Next Generation EU; MZ2021-86). This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. [774340—Organic-PLUS].


  • Organic farming
  • animal health
  • animal management
  • phytotherapy
  • contentious inputs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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