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Cow calf contact in dairy herds viewed from the perspectives of calves, cows, humans and the farming system. Farmers' perceptions and experiences related to dam-rearing systems

Abstract : A common practice in dairy farming is to remove the calf from its mother a few hours after birth. The public debate on the subject has increased, and views on whether the calf should be allowed to stay with its dam for weeks are debated among citizens, farmers, and advisors. The aim of this article is to present, analyse, and discuss experiences and arguments on dam-rearing of calves through interviews with actors, primarily farmers, involved in organic dairy farming in four European countries. The interviews showed that dam-rearing is practiced in a wealth of different systems, and four main points of view should be considered: that of the calf, the cow, the farmer, and the farming system. Three important qualities of cow calf contact systems are described from the animals' perspective: 1) nutrition, 2) care, and 3) learning. The discussion included ethical considerations referring to the principle of fairness as expressed by the Interna tional Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Wellbalanced and managed dam-rearing systems are suggested
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03036547
Contributor : Corine Lenat <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 4:54:07 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 2:34:29 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 8:00:19 PM

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Mette Vaarst, Florence Hellec, Cynthia Verwer, Rosann Juni, Kristin Sørheim. Cow calf contact in dairy herds viewed from the perspectives of calves, cows, humans and the farming system. Farmers' perceptions and experiences related to dam-rearing systems. Journal of sustainable and organic agricultural systems, Landbauforschung, 2020, 70 (1), pp.49-57. ⟨10.3220/LBF1596195636000⟩. ⟨hal-03036547⟩

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