Take Action! USDA Wants to Hear from the Public on Animal Welfare in Organics
July 6, 2016
As a Fair Farms consumer, you likely have an interest in providing public comment on animal welfare rules for foods labeled “organic.” Here’s your opportunity to provide input to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on how organic livestock and poultry are produced in America. USDA is accepting public comments until July 13.
Add your voice to support updated standards here:
When animals are raised under the label “organic,” many consumers assume that animals are out on pasture, living their lives eating a natural diet in the fresh air and sunshine.
It isn’t always like that.
Under the new rules, USDA would outline basic welfare requirements – such as ensuring that animals have enough space to lie down, stand up, and fully stretch their limbs, and provide fresh air and ventilation.
Fair Farms is supportive of measures under the proposed rule to:
- require that animals have “unencumbered” access to the outdoors,
- set indoor and outdoor living space requirements,
- guarantee that animals have the ability to engage in their natural behaviors, and
- prohibit widespread and painful procedures, like face branding, de-beaking and tail-docking.
Without specific animal welfare requirements like these, some USDA organic farmers who provide high standards of care for their animals are at an economic disadvantage compared to farmers who raise their animals under much lower welfare standards. For example, some USDA organic farmers provide their animals full access to the outdoors, while other USDA organic farmers provide no access and raise their animals similar to conventional, intensive agriculture
In fairness to USDA organic farmers and consumers – we urge AMS to minimally pass the proposed rule as is, and ideally with even greater welfare protections for farm animals.
Join us in asking the USDA to require basic welfare requirements for farm animals labeled “organic.”