Trump USDA Kills Obama Welfare Rules For Animals Certified As ‘Organic’

Trump USDA Kills Obama Welfare Rules For Animals Certified As ‘Organic’

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Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its plan to roll back Obama-era rules for how animals should be treated in order for their meat to be sold as “certified organic,” including a requirement that the animals be kept clean, dry, and free of lesions.

 

The final rules called the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP), were originally set to take effect on March 20 after having been delayed three times in the wake of President Trump’s post-inauguration regulatory freeze.

 

On Friday, the agency published its decision to abolish the OLPP altogether.

 

The Trump administration argues that the new rules will stunt innovation and growth of the organic industry.

 

As CivilEats notes:

 

Scheduled to go into effect on May 14, 2018, and now in its fifth “final” version, the OLPP specified a set of standards for organic livestock and poultry designed to minimize stress, facilitate natural behaviors, and promote well-being. Championed throughout the organic industry—from farmers to consumer groups to retailers and animal-welfare advocates—the OLPP was intended as a course correction for the $43 billion food industry, formulated to bring organic dairy, eggs, and meat production into line with consumer expectations of higher animal welfare. Trust in the organic seal depended on it, some advocates insisted.

 

But this latest USDA decision codifies the big rift between the majority of certified organic producers, who follow the spirit of the law, and the fewer, much larger producers who seek to gain market advantage, primarily by continuously confining animals that are required by law to have outdoor access. The USDA’s ruling preserves the status quo and fails to establish the USDA Organic label as the “gold standard” for organics that OLPP promised.

 

The Center for Food Safety blasted the USDA for withdrawing the rule.

 

 

 

“In particular, the rules require all animals to have real access to the outdoors, which must include contact with soil and vegetation, and outline minimum spacing requirements for poultry,” Cameron Harsh, the group’s senior manager for organic and animal policy, said in a statement.

 

“This is, in fact, what consumers already expect from the organic poultry and eggs they buy in stores. But the largest poultry producers have so far been able to consider small, cement, fenced-in areas as outdoor access and have not been required to abide by specific spacing limitations.”