Breaking: USDA Derails Organic Welfare Rule
After passing a rule to significantly improve the lives of animals raised for food under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Organic label in January, the new administration has delayed the rule’s implementation for the second time and is reassessing it altogether.
The ASPCA has worked with the department for years to secure this critical rule and is working to ensure the USDA keeps its word to the many animals, farmers and consumers who care. Yesterday we released the joint statement below with the Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Forward.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and Farm Forward implore the USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule without delay.
Our organizations join the voices of farmers, consumer and health advocates, food companies, and the National Organic Standards Board calling to finalize the outcome of the 15-year collaborative process that created what would be the first comprehensive federal standards for on-farm welfare.
The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule requires outdoor access for all animals, including egg-laying hens; sets indoor and outdoor space requirements for chickens; restricts physical alterations; adds transport and slaughter standards; and sets other crucial minimum standards.
This rule is critical not only for animals but also to level the playing field for higher welfare organic producers. These farmers are competing against “faux-ganic” industrial producers who profit from the public’s desire for higher welfare animal products while raising animals in factory farms. The rule also protects consumers currently paying a premium for organic food in the belief that the label is proof of higher welfare.
The USDA needs to heed the calls of the countless farmers and groups that support this urgently needed rule and the consumers who do not want to purchase cruelty when they buy USDA Organic.