The USDA unveiled the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) Proposed Rule, with public comments on the rule open until October 11, 2022. OFRF is happy to see this significant step towards clarifying the animal welfare requirements associated with organic certification.
In short, OLPS ensures that there are clear, robust standards for livestock production authorized under the Organic program. While this is an important step for animals being raised in organic systems, it is also important for consumers who want USDA organic certification to include significant animal welfare practices.
Two significant actions this rule takes are:
- Describing standards on living conditions, healthcare, transportation, and slaughter practices that support animal welfare for mammalian livestock;
- Establishing indoor and outdoor poultry space requirements and stocking density limits, and clarify that enclosed porches will not be considered outdoor space for this requirement.
Both of these policies will strengthen organic standards related to outdoor access and appropriate, humane living conditions.
OFRF will continue to work with organic partners to advocate for strong enforcement and compliance for this rule. That is why OFRF is joining the Organic Trade Association, and other signatories, to call for the USDA to reduce the implementation period for egg producing operations from 15 years to no more than 5 years. Allowing 15 years to implement these requirements represents generations of chickens that live in substandard conditions while the operators continue to enjoy the market premium associated with the rule’s provisions.
We are also calling on you to provide feedback to the USDA! Consider the National Organic Coalition Template, or the Organic Farmer’s Association or Organic Trade Association’s individual comment tool. We need to be clear that the USDA must implement this rule quickly!