Just before the holidays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its devastating proposal to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule. Currently, the USDA has a number of detailed regulations dictating how certified-organic fruits and vegetables must be grown. However, the standards for how organic animals should be raised are quite vague and don’t guarantee that these animals have sufficient space indoors or will ever get to go outdoors.
Big Agriculture has seized upon this vagueness in the National Organic Program. A few large companies are profiting off the perceived cachet of the “Organic” label while raising animals in factory-farm-like conditions. They exploit the weakness of current rules for organic farm animals by packing tens of thousands of animals indoors with limited access to enclosed, concrete porches—a far cry from the green grass and fresh air expected by shoppers who opt for USDA Organic products.
The OLPP rule would have set standards to ensure that all animals on all organic farms are raised in more humane conditions, able to carry out their natural behaviors and have meaningful access to the outdoors. There is overwhelming support for the OLPP rule from organic farmers, trade groups, animal advocates and consumers. During its most recent public comment period on the rule, 99% of comments submitted to the USDA supported its immediate implementation.
We cannot allow the USDA to ignore the will of the public—we must take action. The USDA is accepting public comments until January 17 on its intention to withdraw the OLPP rule.
Millions of farm animals are counting on you: Tell the USDA that its decision to withdraw the organic animal welfare rule is irresponsible and outrageous.