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Institute of Epidemiology (IfE)

Organic livestock farming as a contribution to climate protection - in the focus of animal diseases and epizootics


Duration: 01.11.2022 – 30.09.2025

Funding: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture


Project description:

The project deals with different forms of husbandry in pig and poultry farms under the aspect of the climate balance of farm animals as well as animal health and measures in the event of an outbreak. The focus is on the development of measures that ensure animal health and at the same time enable optimal, resource-saving production on farms that can also be continued in the event of an acute animal disease outbreak scenario.


Agriculture in Germany is a significant economic factor. Since animal welfare, environmental considerations and climate protection are playing an increasingly important role in society, it is crucial that the change in agriculture is accompanied by scientific research. The data on the carbon footprint of livestock in different farming systems is currently extremely sparse. Therefore, the data obtained will form the basis for decisions regarding different forms of husbandry and structural measures that favour the most ecological and animal welfare-promoting agriculture possible. Also, under the aspect of an animal epidemic, which can lead to severe restrictions in animal husbandry, measures are evaluated that combine the requirements of organic animal husbandry with the legal requirements of animal disease control.


Organic as well as conventional producing pig and poultry farms of different types of husbandry are interviewed and analysed with regard to animal health, structural conditions and existing biosecurity measures using a standardised questionnaire. In combination with emission measurements in the surveyed farms, the climate balance of the different types of husbandry as well as the impact of structural measures on the emission of harmful gases will be determined.

Project objective:

The aim of the project is to create recommendations and decision trees regarding measures that lead to an optimisation of animal health in combination with the lowest possible emissions and enable the continuation of organic animal husbandry even in the event of an epizootic outbreak situation. These will be made available to the agricultural sector in an online tool.

Involved IfE scientists:

PD Dr. Carola Sauter-Louis, PhD
Dr. Anna Michelitsch (Post-Doc)
Natalie Wischnewski (Doktorandin)

Project coordination:


Project partner:

Chair for livestock production systems in organic agriculture, Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (www.hswt.de)