Thanks Fair Farms Consumers! USDA Publishes Animal Welfare Rules

    January 20, 2017

(Update 1/21/2017: All USDA rules have been put on hold for 60 days until the Trump administration has had an opportunity to review. This means the rule could be adopted, amended or scrapped altogether. We will keep you updated as information becomes available). 

Well done Fair Farms consumers!

Thanks in part to your letter writing campaign, animals raised under ‘USDA Organic’ rules are expected to receive greater protections and consideration of their welfare.Free-range-hens

Last summer, many of you signed our Fair Farms petition to the USDA urging them to improve the welfare standards they set for animals raised under USDA Organic certification. At the time, these farm animals did not receive basic protections – such as enough space to lie down, stand up, and fully stretch their limbs, or fresh air and ventilation.

The USDA and the White House heard your resounding support for basic animal welfare protections!

Just before President Obama left office, the White House set of rules that include minimum animal welfare standards for animals raised Organic. These rules received last minute approval by the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

The week of the Inauguration, the USDA enacted the final regulation, which will go into effect in 2018.  Find the USDA link to the final rule here.

Under the final rule, animals raised Organic will be given more space, including access to pasture, sunlight and fresh air.  The rule also requires limiting cruel and painful medical procedures without anesthesia, weaning animals at a naturally appropriate age, ensuring that sick, disabled and injured animals are taken care of properly, and improving the well-being of the animals.

Although the proposed rule required chicken producers to entice birds to go outside with “suitable enrichment,” the USDA removed this language from the final rule.  Many groups are still considering the final rule as a win for animals and consumers alike.

For decades, the USDA Organic label has been misleading to consumers who assume that it carries high standards for animal welfare protection. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) submitted formal recommendations to the USDA on animal welfare in 2002, 2009, and 2011 — but these recommendations did not move forward, until now.

Consumers will have a clear picture about the welfare standards of animals raised under the Organic label.  

We’d like to offer a big thank you for speaking up to make positive changes to our food system!

These changes wouldn’t be possible without consumers like you.


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