Animal husbandry and animal products
Animal husbandry is the most important sector of Slovenian agriculture, which faces increasing challenges. The main concern in this area is preservation of agricultural holdings and cultural landscape, biodiversity and genetic progress, increase of quality animal products, environmental challenges in terms of sustainability and animal welfare.
In Slovenia, animal husbandry is dominated by cattle farming, followed by poultry, pig, sheep, goats and horse farming, beekeeping and others. Slovenia has large areas of grassland and numerous family farms with a tradition of cattle breeding as cattle are also well adapted to the Slovenian natural environment. The main production activity within the livestock sector and the agriculture in general is milk and meat production. About 80.000 thousand employees are involved in agricultural production, the vast majority of whom are self-employed. Nowadays animal husbandry faces major changes and new challenges. Slovenian policies are designed to overcome them and to manage the agricultural economy in an economically efficient and sustainable manner.
Animal husbandry objectives
The objectives of animal husbandry by law are, in particular:
- improving or maintaining the characteristics of domestic animals, taking into account their vitality;
- preserving genetic heterogeneity and indigenous breeds and thus biodiversity;
- preserving intended use of agricultural land;
- sufficient production of quality animal products;
- protecting the welfare of domestic animals through zoo-hygienic and ethological rearing standards;
- providing type-specific diet and feeding;
- sustainable animal husbandry practices;
- preventing negative effects in the reproduction of kin;
- implementing environmental and spatial norms in rearing;
- exercising the rights and duties of livestock farmers and their organisations;
- performing professional tasks in animal husbandry;
- using the results of professional, advisory, research and educational work in the field of animal husbandry;
- using information systems in animal husbandry together with identification, marking and registration of domestic animals;
- regulated trade in breeding material and animal products;
- ensuring the safety of people in rearing.
Animal husbandry is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. It conducts procedures for the recognition and approval of organisations in animal husbandry and procedures for certification of breeding programmes, provides professional supervision and opinions in the procedure for the adoption of spatial planning documents, decides in complaint procedures, issues prior consents to design documents for the construction or reconstruction of large livestock establishments and performs other tasks under the Livestock Farming Act.
Livestock and breed societies or breeding operations
Livestock include cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, horses, honeybees and other species of animals reared for food production or other economic purposes. Livestock owners must provide for their registration with the register of livestock keepers and for the animals registration with the livestock register.
Umbrella organisations in animal husbandry are breed societies/breeding operations (formerly referred to as recognised breeding organisations) for the respective species or breeds of domestic animals. Their task is to bring together breeders to implement breeding programmes on purebred, hybrid breeding animals entered in flock-books or registers.
A breeding programme consists of methods and measures for the rearing of domestic animals of a particular species and breed, including the keeping of breeding books or registers and various procedures to achieve breeding objectives. Breed societies/breeding operations are assisted in terms of technical and professional tasks by various organisations: test stations, artificial insemination centres, service stations, queen bee breeding stations and other organisations.