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Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1615; doi:10.3390/su9091615

Economic, Environmental, and Animal Welfare Performance on Livestock Farms: Conceptual Model and Application to Some Case Studies in Italy

1
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 33, 40126 Bologna, Italy
2
Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno, 74, 06126 Perugia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 4 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 11 September 2017
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to propose a multi-attribute hierarchical evaluation model for the evaluation of the aggregate sustainability of livestock farms integrating the economic, environmental, and social aspects. This approach uses an aggregation criterion based on the geometric mean to assess a farm’s current level of sustainability. Sustainability was measured through the use of indicators including carbon footprint, farm income, and animal welfare. Secondly, based on the relationships between the sustainability aspects, the effects of improvement measures on all the indicators were estimated. This paper presents eight livestock case studies from Italy, analyzed in 2014. The results show intermediate values for the aggregate index of sustainability for most of the farms. The index mainly depends on the estimated values of the sustainability indicators related to the economic and environmental aspects. Lower values of animal welfare sustainability are quantified. The introduction of improvement measures in relation to the preparation of the soil had positive effects, both in terms of emissions and animal welfare. The increase of available space per Livestock Unit (LU) resulted in the greatest positive effect on animal welfare, among all the other actions analyzed. View Full-Text
Keywords: social sustainability; GHG emissions; farm income; integrated sustainability assessment social sustainability; GHG emissions; farm income; integrated sustainability assessment
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Galioto, F.; Paffarini, C.; Chiorri, M.; Torquati, B.; Cecchini, L. Economic, Environmental, and Animal Welfare Performance on Livestock Farms: Conceptual Model and Application to Some Case Studies in Italy. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1615.

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