Image courtesy of Paolo Berardelli 

Animal Health & Welfare

Animal welfare on organic farms is based on the Five Freedoms

The five freedoms are:

  1. Freedom from malnutrition
  2. Freedom from thermal and physical discomfort
  3. Freedom from injury and disease
  4. Freedom from fear and distress
  5. Freedom from unnecessary restrictions of behaviour

The SOPA Organic Standards also require our organic farmers to respect native breeds and livestock traditions

This includes practices such as hefting, which we believe to be a valuable historical culture in livestock rearing.

Organic animals are always free range

Organic Sheep - The Five Freedoms SOPA

Organic animals are reared on grass and grass-products like hay or silage.

There is a strict limit to the amount of non-grass feed permitted in each individual animal's diet.  No GM feed is permitted and all livestock feeds for ruminants MUST be 100% organic.

Veterinary medicines are very closley monitored on organic livestock farms

Without exception, if an animal is sick or hurt it must be treated by a vet.  However, many preventative actions can be taken to improve the core health of the herd or flock to reduce the incidence of disease.

Many years ago it was a common misperception that organic farmers could not use any veterinary medicines.  But this is a complete fallacy.

Every SOPA farmer who rears livestock must work to a Livestock Management Plan that is approved by the SOPA Certification team.  The Livestock Management Plan is specific to the animals on each farm.  It documents health history, assesses the risk of disease and what medicines are used when animals are sick.  The plan is reviewed at least annually, and vetierinary input is not always necessary.

The organic principles are based on precautionary practices to avoid disease and illness in livestock.  This is achieved by simple practices such as mixed and rotational grazing to manage worm burdens.

Vaccinations are permitted.


PO Box Golspie, KW106AA
Email: Tel: 0300 772 9795

Scottish Organic Producers Association, Registered Office is c/o Drummond Laurie, Algo Business Centre, Glenearn Rd, Perth, PH2 8BX.
Scottish Organic Producers Association is a Co-operative registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, Registration Number SP02278R. Organic Certification GB-ORG-17