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Pigs - Organic Farms v Intensive Farms

Intensively farmed and organically farmed pigs are my next topic of debate, lets start with intensive farming methods. There are around half a million sows in the UK and about three quarters of them spend their entire lives indoors. When raising their litter they are confined to very narrow crates which causes swollen joints and skin abrasions. Most of the offspring have their teeth clipped to stop them damaging their mothers udders, and their tails docked so they are not bitten later in life. Both of these painful mutilations are only made necessary by the intensive nature of production. All these methods of farming are against the natural way that pigs behave.

Organic farms provide conditions so that the pigs can behave in a natural way - the way they like it. When sows are about to give birth they like to make nests using straw and clods of earth, organic farms allow them to do this. Many organic farms keep their pigs together in their family groups throughout their lifetime. The pigs can wallow in mud and dig to their hearts content, the way they would in their natural habitat. They spend their lives outdoors and are not subjected to the mutilations such as teeth clipping, nose ringing and tail docking used in intensive methods. Other methods instead of drugs are used to keep the pigs healthy, such as rotating the pigs around the farm on a regular basis, which helps stop the build up of bugs that cause scours.

Homeopathy used in Organic Farms

Homeopathy is used on organic farms to combat disease in all animals, however homeopathy does not totally replace conventional veterinary and medicine. Homeopathy is used as complimentary to conventional veterinary and medicine but should not be regarded as a complete replacement. Homeopathy takes into account all the aspect of the individual including the general well-being, stress and psyical symptoms. It is typically used in acute diseases and first aid, they match the symptoms to effects of the remedy. For example they use homeopathic remedies when transporting animals, if they become stressed or in any other mental problems. Preventive medicine is also a major part of homeopathic medicine, such as the use of homeopathic vaccinations. Another method used is herbs to boost the animals natural immune system or to stimulate their digestion, circulation etc.

Another way to prevent illness on organic farms is selective breeding - the selection of breeds that are adapted to local conditions and able to resist disease. The characteristics of many native breeds play an important role in ensuring the good health and welfare of animals. These include, disease resistance, thriftiness, a quiet temperament, suitability to locality (climate, elevation and soils), maternal instinct, the ability to thrive on a high roughage diet, and hardiness. In most intensive farming systems the breed that are mainly used are those that grow faster or those that produce more meat or milk. Because of this some of the breeds are seriously compromised. This can result in the animals being put under serious stress, increasing reliance on veterinary medicines because their natural immune systems are weakened.

As I have given many arguments for the use of organic farming I feel it only fair that I give some against. As I said in the introduction of this artical it is up to you to make up your own mind about what you choose to eat. So as promised here are some arguments against organic farming.

Arguements Against Organic farms

Intensive faming methods on the other hand mean that we have more varied, cheaper food that no body has to break their back on the land to get for us. And surely if modern faming methods were as bad as some suggest why are people living longer healthier lives? There are problems that remain but that should not blind us to the huge advances that have been made so far. Like with everything humans have advanced there have always been problems, but we have always overcome them and this has brought us further into the future. Look back into history and what do you see, advancement after advancement - surely there is nothing to be learned by looking back into history, and repeating what we used to do. Think of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth, some blame this epidemic on modern intensive farming techniques but surely it is because of these modern practices that we have not had an outbreak since 1967 - whilst foot-and-mouth has remained rife throughout the developing world. Have we lost faith in some of our finest achievements? Because there is always the chance of human error, most people think that any practice involving human input must be suspect, just like in modern medicine and research.

There are still many people who disagree that organic farms are better than modern intensive farms, such as the UK's cross-party House of Commons committee on agriculture, in January 2001 announced that, despite exhaustive investigation, it had failed to find any scientific evidence to prove 'that any of the many claims made for organic farming are always and invariably true'.

E. Coli Debate

There is a debate at the moment surrounding organic lettuce - that it can become contaminated with E. Coli 0157:H7. This comes from manure fertiliser or irrigation water contaminated with animal feces. the lettuce takes up the water into the internal tissues of the leaves that we eat. Normal washing can not remove this bacteria and it can not be irradiated to kill the pathogenic bacteria. This presents a significant risk to those who eat organic lettuce.


Organic Farming Pages - Topics & Content

Organic Farms Page 1

For and Against Organic Farming - advantages and disadvantages


Organic Farms Page 2:

Animal Welfare

Chickens - Organic Farms v Intensive Farms

Eggs - Organic Farms v Intensive Farms


Organic Farms Page 3:

Pigs - Organic Farms v Intensive Farms

Homeopathy used in Organic Farms

Arguements Against Organic farms

Organic Lettuce - E. Coli Debate


Organic Farms Page 4:

Antibiotics used in Intensive Farms

Regulatory Muddle

The sources of Contamination

Which eggs are affected?



Organic Farms Page 5:

Antibiotic Residues and our Health


Organic Farms Page 6:

Key Recommendations - Bans and Restrictions:

Key Recommendations - The Veterinary Profession


Organic Farms Page 7:

Food Quality and your Health

Antibiotic use is cut in organic farming

GMO's banned in organic farming

BSE - organically reared or born cattle are BSE free

Food poisoning risks are minimised by using organic standards and methods

Organic farming nurtures the soil

Organic farming returns nutrients to the soil

Organic farming rotates crops




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