Updates to Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards Finalized 

High standards of livestock health and well-being are central to the principles of organic agriculture. In October, the USDA National Organic Program finalized important clarifications to organic livestock and poultry standards that will help ensure that program rules are being implemented fairly and consistently nationwide. 

The new Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards clarify living conditions, healthcare, transportation, and slaughter practices to support animal welfare for mammalian livestock species. They also establish poultry indoor and outdoor space requirements and stocking density limits and clarify that enclosed porches are not considered outdoor spaces. 

While most operations, including those certified by NOFA-NY, already adhere to high benchmarks, these updated standards will help ensure industry-wide consistency. Operations not already in compliance will have one year to make necessary changes with the exception of changes to space requirements must be made within five years. 

NOFA-NY and many of our allies in the organic community have been advocating for over a decade for improved clarification and enforcement of organic animal welfare standards and the finalization of these guidelines is a win worth celebrating! NOFA-NY will continue to advocate for improvements that maintain the integrity of the organic label.

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Photo by Styves Exantus