Farm animals are an important integrated part of most organic farms. They make valuable contributions to the productivity and sustainability of organic agricultural systems.
In addition to this strong economic bond between humans and animals in organic farming, there also is a moral (and sometimes emotional) bond to animals as sentient and fellow beings on this planet.
This imposes a responsibility on humans for the welfare of farm animals and herd management software. However, the development of organic animal husbandry has been slower than organic plant production.
There are several reasons for this, historical and philosophical as well as the fact that research on animal production often is more expensive and difficult to carry out compared to crop research.
However, organic animal research has increased considerably in several European countries lately and resulting from this, improved efficiency and productivity can be expected in organic animal production, as well as better animal welfare.
Animals are an important part of most organic farms and research to develop better organic systems is now performed in many European countries. Thus we can expect organic animal production to increase during the years to come.
In organic farming, agriculture is often referred to as an agroecosystem. An agroecosystem is a community of plants and animal interaction with their physical and chemical environments that have been modified by people to produce feed, fibers, and other products for human consumption and processing.
The goal of organic farming is to design a quilt of agroecosystems within a landscape unit, each mimicking the structure and function of local, natural ecosystems, thus acquiring their resilience and sustainability.
Ideally, the organic farmer manipulates the natural ecosystem to achieve sustainable production, using an understanding of ecological relationships while trying to minimize the use of external inputs and harm to the environment.