Good news—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations for the care of “organic” dairy cows, which we asked you take action on two weeks ago, have been approved! The new rules, effective June 17, stipulate that organic milk and meat must come from livestock grazing on pasture for at least four months of the year; 30 percent of the cows’ feed must come from grazing; and ranchers must have a plan to protect soil and water quality.
“We are delighted to learn that so many cows will now have access to pasture and an opportunity to graze,” says Robert Baker, ASPCA Senior Manager of Farm Animal Welfare. “We hope this will be the first of many steps the USDA will take to align organic standards with humane standards. Consumers need to be given an opportunity to make a ‘humane’ choice as well as a healthy choice when they choose organic products. We welcome these initial measures toward this goal.”
We would like to give a big thanks to News Alert readers and members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade who took the time to email the White House from ASPCA.org. Over the span of 15 days, more than 33,000 emails were sent!
“Clear and enforceable standards are essential to the health and success of the market for organic agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a USDA press release issued last Friday. “The final rule published today will give consumers confidence that organic milk or cheese comes from cows raised on pasture, and organic family farmers the assurance that there is one, consistent pasture standard that applies to dairy products.”
For more information on the new rules for organic milk, visit the website of the National Organic Program.