Update – January 19, 2018: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is again putting corporate interests ahead of animal welfare and consumer rights. It plans to scrap the rule requiring that Organic farms raise their animals more humanely than animals on factory farms. The public comment period to tell the USDA that this decision is irresponsible and unacceptable is now closed. Thank you to 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.