ASPCA Celebrates Long-Delayed Federal Rule Requiring Higher-Welfare Organic Standards for Farm Animals

October 26, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a long overdue preview of the final Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) rule to require stronger welfare standards for animals raised under the “USDA Organic” program. The new requirements, which are similar to a 2017 rule that was withdrawn during the Trump administration, better protect the nearly 200 million animals raised annually on organic farms, align more with consumer expectations of the Organic label and create a more level playing field for the many organic farmers who already adhere to higher-welfare practices. The rule prohibits certain painful and inhumane practices like debeaking of birds, routine tail docking of pigs and gestation crates for mother pigs, and clarifies that enclosed, screened-in porches with a roof do not qualify as outdoor access.

In response, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) issued the following statement:

“We’re gratified to see the USDA finally publish the OLPS rule following more than a decade of advocacy from farmers, consumer protection organizations and animal welfare groups to fix loopholes in the National Organic Program that put millions of animals at risk,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Within the next five years, the National Organic Program should finally work as intended, ensuring higher welfare practices and transparency on organic farms. We look forward to swift implementation of the new rule and the substantial benefits it will bring to animals and consumers alike.”

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