For many organic farms, keeping livestock plays a key role in maintaining good soil fertility and a closed material cycle. Alongside humus, and nitrogen-fixing legumes, manure is one of the only sources of nitrogen at an organic farmer's disposal.
The use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers is prohibited in organic farming. Unlike in the agro-industrial sector, as long as the quantity of manure being produced is balanced with the nutrient requirements of a farm's crops, manure is not seen as a foul-smelling waste disposal problem. By farming livestock in proportion to their available land, organic farmers ensure a balance is achieved, rendering the notion of organic factory farming infeasible.
Meat, eggs and milk all play a crucial role in our modern diets. They provide us with high-quality proteins and vital minerals, not to mention unique flavours. The average German citizen consumes over 60 kg of meat, 214 eggs and around 100 litres of milk (products) per year. Consuming such large quantities of mass-produced, animal-based foods from conventional farms causes a whole range of issues.