At this moment in Germany there are about 13 million cattles, 27 million pigs, 67 million mast-chickens (broilers) and 30 million laying hens. Despite the "organic boom" in the last years which is due to an increasing consumer interest and financial and ideational state promotion, the percentage of farm animals in ecological husbandry is unimportant. Only 2.9% of German milk cows, 0.7% of all mast-pigs and 0.6% of all mast-chickens are "bio-animals", the percentage of laying hens is 5.7% (source: AMI, 2009). In spite of the higher market prices for organic products, the German bio-livestock owners only earned 3.1% of all profits out of "animal products" in 2009.
The organic illusion
Everybody who has looked just a little into the subject of the conventional livestock husbandry knows, that all these animals live a horrible, species-unappropriate life until they end up, after hours or even days of transport, in any slaughterhouse in this world. Everybody knows pictures of cage-compounds for laying hens, unlighted complexes for mast-pigs, milk cows with painfully big udders. The illusion of "happy animals" on organic farms pleases the consumers, as it salves their conscience while consuming animal products. The fact that including the organic animals live a miserable life and face the very same end by the same slaughtering methods in the same slaughterhouse is effectually repressed by such bio-deception.
The feint of "species-appropriate livestock husbandry"
The consumer links expressions like "organic" and "bio" automatically with happy animals and "species-appropriate" breeding, with content loose animals who can live their special needs and are not degraded to a mere "useful animal". But this link is fatal: Neither "organic" nor "bio" are related to "happy animals" and there is no "species-appropriate" breeding at an organic farm. The living conditions of the animals do not differ much from those of conventional mass breeding, their "plus" are nothing more than a few inches more space.
A 100 kilo mast-pig will probably not feel happier, when it is granted a 2.3 square meter space (bio) instead of 0.65 square meter (conventional). Such a bio-pig has no right to ever step on green grass or even forest ground, just like its comrades of the conventional breeding. "Organic" is not a happy pig playing in water. Organic is cheating knowingly the animal-friendly consumer and is simulating an idyllic world where there is none.
Nobody is connecting an organic egg with the fact that even the organic laying hen breeding means the murdering of all male biddies by gas, in the squeezer or by other ways, because they are not profitable. The production of organic milk and milk products means that a milk cow must deliver a calf every year that is taken away from her right after birth and that has no right to the company or the milk of its own mother, being just a "collateral product".
The EC - organic terms of reference
The European Union / European Community rules of action put a definite end to any idea of "species-appropriate animal husbandry". According to EC - organic terms of reference (especially see ANNEX III on pages 38 and 39) an organic calf until 100 kilo weight has the right of 2.6 square meters "living space". This living space the calf can enjoy all alone, because even "organic" admits the separation from their mother right after birth and the isolation of the calves right in so called calf-igloos. "Organic" milk-cows have a right of 10.5 square meters. A mother pig with her more or less 12 piglets comply with organic terms of reference by 10 square meters space. Later those piglets have a right to 1.4 square meters until a weight of 50 kilos in a pig box. Compared to their comrades in conventional husbandry they get some straws underneath their feet. Neither calves nor piglets nor mast-animals have the right to be outside on a "green meadow". Their "privileges" as organic animals: they have a right to look outside, to water and to some straw.
The organic cultivation confederations
The organic cultivation confederations (Bioland, Demeter, Naturland etc) advertise that they apply even more draconic criteria than the EU-organic directives. The consumer is suggested that these labels even meant quite some different category than the "mere" EU-organic. Nevertheless, it's nothing more than some farcical differences. Even the well-known cultivation confederations are no warrantor for "happy animals". The search for the safe and sound animal husbandry world is becoming more and more crazy. Slaughtering, violent achievement of pregnancies, child robbery, exaggerated genetical modified breeding, imprisonment and permanent being at the mercy of someone are intentionally neglected. Sentient beings are inevitably downgraded to nothing more than commodities for human markets – no matter if they are called Demeter, organic or conventional. The search of the exceptional farm where you can see supposed happy animals in a snap-shot only serves for calming the conscience of all meat-eaters. All of them can pretend that their animal products have not been produced so cruelly. (... more details about the organic cultivation unions)
Factory farming also in "bio" and "organic"
Whether you conduct conventional farm animal husbandry or a "bio"- or "organic"-business, you need high livestock figures in order to produce cost-effectively. Therefore a business following "bio" and "organic" directives is no idyllic farm with some happy animals, but you'll find the same mass animal husbandry with hundreds, thousands, ten thousands of animals like in the conventional sector. Institutions and meat-, milk- and egg-producers like the "Neuland-Verein" that claim to treat animals in a species-appropriate way under the guidance of the "Deutscher Tierschutzbund" (German Animal Protection Association) limit their livestock in their associated companies to "reasonable" 10000 (¡) laying hens, 6000 broilers, 2000 mast ducks, geese and turkeys per farm, 650 mast pigs or 500 mast pigs plus corresponding breeding sows, 95 breeding sows in piglet farms – hence mass animal husbandry with the seal of approval of the German Animal Protection Association.
The end: "humane slaughtering"
"Organic" and "bio"-animals don't suffer a different end than other animals: After an anesthesia with electricity, gas or bolt shot, the living animals gets the throat cut by the slaughterer, they bleed to death which takes several minutes. Many animals experience their death fully conscient because of a bad anesthesia. Slaughtering and killing can never be "humane".
"Animal protectors" and the "species-appropriate farm animal husbandry"
Animal protectors get involved with animals, clearly declaring to prevent suffering and death from dogs, cats, bunnies and other pets. But when it comes to farm animals, those animal protectors seem to compromise quite easily. All of a sudden it's not about prevention of suffering and death, but only some "less suffering" in the short farm animal life. Treating pets and farm animals in an equal way would mean, that those animal protectors would have to defend an important cutback of the consume of animals products as this is the only way to prevent them from suffering and death.
It's no wonder when Ministries of agriculture, farmers or butchers pretend "species-appropriate farm animal husbandry" where there is none so that the consumer doesn't lose his meat appetite. But it is astonishing when this is done by "animal protectors" in full conscience and against better knowledge. Instead of renouncing animal products, instead of vegetarian and vegan campaigns, those "animal protectors" strongly defend "bio" and "organic" meat, milk and eggs and support what they should fight: Suffering and death of animals.
Reality instead of bio-romanticism
The desolate and painful life of the "organic animals" is continuosly praised as "species-appropriate", the "happy animals" are "gently" transported and "slaughtered humanely". Organic-defenders don't have any problem with calling and praising the abuse and not at all appropriate life of the organic animals as "especially appropriate". Breeding sows in farrowing crates, lethargic calves without mothers nor green grass, dairy cows in tie-stalls, fattened pigs living in their excrements, bio-hens without feathers just like their conventional companions: the idea of bio-idyll brakes seeing behind the curtain.
The Ministries of Agriculture go for "bio" and "organic". They start already with the kids in the nurseries and schools explaining them that "bio" and "organic" is good and healthy for humans and animals. Pictures of happy pigs, peacefully browsing cows and free walking hens together with reference sources and recipes, the free bio-milk in schools and other marketing strategies shall convince even the last disbeliever to continue consuming animal products.
The public organic propaganda organizes contests even for the youngest, teaching them – right against their inner feelings – that there is nothing bad in killing animals to eat them, or to lock them in and take their milk and eggs, that cows, pigs, hens and other "useful animals" only exist to be abused and killed by humans.
The consumer's conscience
The bio- and organic propaganda of the farmers, the Ministries and the "animal protectors" has not only led to the consumer being fatally wrong about the "species-appropriate farm animal husbandry" where it's all about "happy animals within a healthy environment" and where animals live in fresh air and green grass, which is permanently claimed against all facts and proofs, but the consequences of this false information are even worse:
The more the existence of "happy farm animals" is simulated, the more the consumer of animal products likes to believe that also "his" egg, "his" milk, "his" steak comes from such a "happy animal" and can be consumed without any remorse. This does not only affect those consumers, who buy consciously ("for animal protection reasons") bio products, but all the others as well. After all, to deceive the consumer, the butcher will put a big picture of a happy pig in his window and the meat has some seal of quality.
The future of the "animal protection" within the farm animal husbandry
In Germany, there exists a good animal protection law, if it only were applicated consequently and also for "useful animals", and animal protection has constitutional status. The implementing, however, fails at all levels when it comes to farm animals, due to aggressive resistance of the agriculture lobby. The ban on cage keeping for laying hens, after years of protest by animal protectors, was euphoricly celebrated. Yet the hens remain in their cages and this will probably not change, even though this is a violation of the animal protection law. For years now there is a debate about a new act for pig husbandry: the overdue realization of the European guideline is also strongly opposed by the agriculture industry. And there are no rules at all concerning the husbandry of turkeys or mast rabbits – legal is what is profitable. Profitable farm animal husbandry and a real species-appropriate life of animals – which means in liberty – are mutually exclusive. This also applies to "bio", "organic" etc. We shouldn't hope for a political change of the situation of the animals.
The only help those animals can wait for is the help of every single consumer and every single animal friend who face reality and change their eating habits: The animals do not deserve bio-death, not organic death, but unhurt life.
Additional researches and articles of the Soylent-Network about bio-meat etc:
Organic pig in organic farrowing crate
I am an organic farmer! Animal protection?
Organic cows in organic stable
Organic hens in organic stable
Dead organic piglet
"Here you find eggs from happy hens": Misleading animal protection campaign
Organic hens, about 1 year old
Organic cows in organic stable
Organic pig fattening
Organic breeding sow in narrow farrowing crates