The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Don’t Let Factory Farms Undermine the Organic Label

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Tell the USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards rule soon — your voice is needed by midnight ET on November 10, 2022

The proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) rule requires that all poultry receive legitimate outdoor access. This move comes after successive USDA delays and in spite of massive public comment urging the implementation of the previous organic livestock update — withdrawn despite over 40,000 comments in favor of better organic livestock standards. Read the Cornucopia Institute’s complete analysis of how we got to this moment.

Yes, It’s little and it’s late! — But neither too little nor too late to make an important difference

Cornucopia has called out factory-organic poultry operations for over a decade. Instead of dustbathing and cavorting in the sunlight, industrial organic hens are crammed into massive barns with screened porches.

The OLPS specifies the amount of outdoor space required for poultry production and improves some management practices for all organic livestock. Questions remain: How soon must existing operations comply?

How long will factory-organic producers be allowed to deceive you by labeling their eggs as organic?

The stakes are high for ethical producers and organic consumers. Big business will unleash its usual stall tactics to prevent this animal welfare progress from becoming law. It’s easier (and cheaper) than complying. Some operations will have to buy more land to expand the meager space around their giant barns or leave the organic label altogether. They will not go quietly.

A united front of concerned consumers and independent retailers and co-ops is critical.

Help improve organic integrity by supporting strong rules for animal welfare

  1. Go to the comment form. You can write directly in the space provided, cut and paste your comments, or attach a separate document. Read the full proposed rule (Docket No. AMS-NOP-21-0073-0001) at Regulations.gov.

  2. Be as personal as you can. We’ve provided talking points below, but your own story will be most impactful.

If you are an organic livestock producer, rancher, or organic business involved in the industry, please be sure to mention your stake in this rulemaking. If you are a consumer, let them know you’re willing to pay more for organic eggs and poultry if they meet a higher animal welfare standard. Comments from organic consumers are equally important, especially if you tell regulators why you care.

COMMENT AT REGULATIONS.GOV

SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS

  • This regulation is vital to my continued trust in the organic label.

  • Without animal welfare updates, production practices will continue to vary widely and perpetuate consumer confusion.

  • The majority of egg and livestock producers are already meeting the requirements laid out by the proposed rule. Failing to enact livestock updates extends the harm done to these producers and gives unfair advantage to industrialized production.

  • I support swift implementation of the OLPS rulemaking. The suggested 15-year implementation timeframe for organic egg operations is far too long and will lead to more market failure. The rule should be implemented in three years.

  • I will pay more for eggs and poultry products if they legitimately meet a high standard for animal welfare (especially knowing that animal welfare correlates to more nutritious products).

  • As a consumer I look for eggs with additional third-party certifications because the current organic standards do not assure uniform production styles. I would prefer that producers did not have to incur the expense of third-party certifications, which add to customer confusion.

  • Lower stocking densities, legitimate outdoor time, and other animal welfare benefits do not increase food safety concerns. Research backs this up.

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