Biodynamic farming is an alternative form of farming practice that was developed by an Austrian Philosopher, Dr Rudolf Steiner, in 1924. Biodynamics takes the ethos of organic farming but adds a number of additional practices that are not generally accepted by the scientific community as having any quantified benefits over traditional organic farming practices. Some of these additional practices include using various animal parts, such as: cow horns taken from lactating female cows and stuffed with manure and buried in the ground to be used later as compost and fertiliser, deer bladders stuffed with yarrow plants, Chamomile buried in cow intestine, oak bark buried in animal skulls, and dandelion stuffed in cow mesentery (part of the cows digestive system). Whilst one could make an argument that these animal parts would be thrown out anyway after an animal is slaughtered, you could, for example, also make that same argument for the use of leather. An addition, biodynamic farms are REQUIRED to keep animals enslaved on the farm and none of these biodynamic farms are animal rescue sanctuaries. These are working farms and we seriously doubt that these farms would be paying hundreds and even thousands of dollars for vet bills just to treat one injured chicken, or sheep, or cow, not to mention where these animals likely end up.
Biodynamic farming is practiced on approximately 800,000 hectares of agricultural land in Australia. To put this in perspective, there are approximately 394,000,000 hectares of land used for agriculture in Australia. This means that only 0.2% of agricultural land in Australia is devoted to biodynamic farming.
In regards to the question of whether biodynamic farming practices can be considered vegan, the answer is no. Biodynamic processes, in principle, clash with the vegan principle of trying to avoid the use of animals for human use as much as possible. Given that biodynamic farming practices are most certainly not required as part of sustainable agriculture, there is absolutely no justification (from a vegan perspective) for the mandatory use of animal and animal parts.
It is important to be aware that a number of biodynamic wine labels continue to label their wines as vegan after having been advised in previous years that biodynamic is not vegan and in some cases even rejected from vegan certification. As we always say, it is important to always check the app for the true vegan status of any wine.