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The USDA’s Senseless Obstacles To A More Humane ‘Organic’

HPG

Every day, millions of Americans visit their grocery stores, relying on a range of food labels – some more meaningful than others – to help them make healthy, humane, and cost-efficient purchases. One of these labels is “USDA Organic,” a certification that presumably represents humane farm animal welfare standards. But sadly, that assumption is untrue, and has been for years. What’s even more reprehensible is that the federal agency directly responsible for ensuring that farmed food products are truthfully labeled – the USDA – is now acting in direct opposition to that mission. Origins of the USDA “Organic” Label The USDA began regulating organic agriculture in 2000 with the creation of the National Organic Program. For years, the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations have pushed to include meaningful animal welfare standards in the definition of organic – including minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for chickens, required enrichment for certain species, and a prohibition on certain kinds of painful physical alterations like cattle tail docking. In January 2017, we celebrated when the USDA National Organic Program announced it would adopt a comprehensive set of federal regulations governing the treatment of animals on USDA Organic-certified farms, based on the recommendation of the National Organics Standards Board. This decision was influenced by tens of thousands of supportive comments from consumers, farmers, companies and public interest groups, all submitted during an official open comment period. The regulations were set to go into effect in March. Enter Politics When the new Administration postponed implementation of the organics rule to May, one could argue this was the consequence of a government in transition, including the late appointment of Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture.

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The USDA’s Senseless Obstacles To A More Humane ‘Organic’

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