Update—March 12, 2018: Despite public outcry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially withdrawn the rule requiring that Organic farms raise their animals more humanely than those on factory farms. This decision is the latest in a series of moves by the agency that put corporate interest ahead of animal welfare and consumer rights. We will continue to fight for protections for farm animals, and we want to thank everyone who spoke up on this important issue.
The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule was designed to prevent some large-scale organic farms from taking advantage of consumers and mistreating animals. Among other things, it established that animals on organic farms should have real outdoor access (not enclosed concrete runs) and set space standards so farms can’t crowd chickens inhumanely.
This is the very least that farm animals deserve. But now, new Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is trying to kill the rule once and for all.
Shoppers seek out the USDA Organic seal because they expect—and pay a premium for—an ideal version of farm life, complete with happy, well-cared-for animals. Unfortunately, this program lacks many real animal welfare standards, causing the market to be flooded with “faux-ganic,” factory-farmed products that cash in on the public’s desire for higher-welfare goods without actually providing better lives for animals.