organic farming

The difference of how Organic Farming raises animals versus non organic farms

June 19, 2018

One of the many reasons why Julia, our Marketing Manager, was thrilled to work with Organic Baby Food Shop was that all of our organic baby formulas are produced under the most strict animal well-being guidelines. Though she is a vegan herself, she would never feed a baby formula based on soy, or other 100% vegetable based formula, simply because they do not have all the nutrients a baby needs to thrive. She was so happy to find that Lebenswert, Holle and HiPP stand for animal well being and became a brand advocate ever since.

By now we have all seen the “cage free” logo on our organic eggs, but are the chicken treated any better because of this label? Unfortunately not. Though we all want to picture the animals that are providing us with milk and eggs living on farms, happily feeding on green fields, the reality is often quite far from it.

Let’s have a look into the differences of Organic / Biodynamic / Demeter farming and regular farming.

 

Regular farming

The main difference between regular farming and organic farming is that regular farming does not always have strict limitations on using pesticides, antibiotics or hormones on their livestock. Furthermore, animals being raised on a regular farm do not need to be grass fed, but are often fed on unhealthy substitutes such as corn, which cannot be properly digested by the cow and traces can be found in their milk. Also, cows on non-organic farms are often treated more like milk machines, rather then living creatures. Cows are being milked daily and it is common that their udder starts bleeding and gets infected. In order for the cow to still provide milk, even if with an infection, they are usually treated with antibiotic and hormones, which can also be found in the milk. Without wanting to go into much detail, it is fair to say that cows on many of these farms are treated extremely poorly and this is of course also reflected in the quality of their milk.

 

What about organic farming?

First and foremost, unfortunately not all organic products are produced equally, and there are big differences when it comes to comparing Organic standards in the USA and Organic standards in Europe.

While in the US even so called “organic farmers” still use traditional farming methods which do not comply with Organic labels in Europe, where they were banned a long time ago. Yet both, in the US and EU, all Organic farmers must comply with the following regulations:

  • Mandatory outdoor access for the cows throughout the year.
  • No use of antibiotics, growth hormones or GMOs
  • The animals must be allowed to pasteurize for a minimum of 120 days per year, freely.
  • 30% of their diet must come from pasture grass
  • All animals must be strictly organic feed, excluding hormones, plastic pellets or food by-products from other mammals.
  • The cows have remained in an organic environment for at least 12 months prior to their milk being sold as organic.

While this in theory is great, there is still space for improvement.


What is Demeter farming?

Using Organic or Bio products is without a doubt the way to go if you want to stay healthy, but Europe has taken Organic Farming a step further,  creating the “Biodynamic Organic” movement.

Biodynamic goes beyond what we in the US consider Organic, by taking into consideration the environment, animal health and well-being as a whole, and also husbandry and soil fertility; their farming technique is referred to as “Bioland” or “Demeter”

Fun fact: Demeter, is based on the Greek Goddess of grain and fertility.


So what are the main differences for animals on an Organic Farming and a Demeter farm?

Cows in both organic and demeter farms, should be treated in a humane way, even if it has been reported over and over again that cows on organic farms were far from it. Cows bred on Demeter certified farms are not being dehorned, as a cow´s horn plays a fundamental role in their metabolism, and they are allowed to feed freely on carefully chosen pastures. Organic farmers may choose if their cows should be dehorned or not, but it is not a must. Dehorning a cow is not only extremely cruel, it is also very unhealthy for the cow and can affect the quality of the milk they produce.

Demeter certified products must also follow a very strict process to manufacture their dairy, ensuring that all ingredients are kept pure, always treating their cows the most natural way possibly. Demeter standards are the highest and ensure that milk from Demeter raised cows keep all their nutrients, a very high amount of vitamin E and Beta-Carotene but best of all, their milk tastes amazing.


By choosing to feed your baby any of our formulas you are not only providing your baby with the very best nutrition available, but also supporting the environment, our planet, and all of its inhabitants.



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