Proposed Standards Improve Organic Animal Welfare

Chickens on grass

In August, USDA published the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards proposed rule for public comment. The rule would strengthen National Organic Program animal welfare standards by creating better clarity and consistency in standards related to living conditions, healthcare, transportation, and slaughter practices.

NOFA-NY has submitted comments on areas where the rule can be improved to better meet its intent including clarifying definitions and adding more specificity to outdoor access and housing standards for poultry.

This proposed rule comes after years of delay and lawsuits over a previous animal welfare rule that was implemented in 2017 and withdrawn in 2018. The vast majority of existing organic livestock operations have already made significant monetary investments and improved their management systems to meet the provisions in the proposed rule. Only a few operations would need to change their systems or leave organic certification once this rule is implemented. This inconsistency between many operations and a few operations has resulted in a great deal of economic harm for many organic livestock producers and resulted in a lack of trust in the organic seal at the retail level. NOFA-NY is calling on USDA to swiftly finalize and implement the final rule on a 3-year timeline rather than the 5 or 15-year timelines proposed.

You can share your support for swift implementation by signing this petition from the Organic Farmers Association or by submitting your own comments to USDA by November 10, 2022.

Photo by Fernando Lavin on Unsplash