Years in the Making, Organic Animal Welfare Rules Killed by Trump USDA

"The decision nullifies 14 years of policymaking in a process mandated by Congress, and marks an about-face for the agency."

"As we’ve written about before, the animals behind your certified organic meat, eggs, and dairy may have been treated more humanely than their conventional counterparts. But the odds are just as high—especially if you’re buying them from a large producer at a relatively low price—that they haven’t been.

All that was set to change under the Obama Administration, as a group of farmers and advocates pushed for many years to see new rules, called the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP), put in place. The rules were finalized on January 18, 2017, but that didn’t stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from delaying them multiple times in the wake of President Trump’s post-inauguration regulatory freeze. Then, in a Friday announcement, the agency published its decision to abolish the OLPP all together.

Scheduled to go into effect on May 14, 2018, and now it its fifth “final” version, the OLPP specified a set of standards for organic livestock and poultry designed to minimize stress, facilitate natural behaviors, and promote well-being. Championed throughout the organic industry—from farmers to consumer groups to retailers and animal-welfare advocates—the OLPP was intended as a course correction for the $43 billion food industry, formulated to bring organic dairy, eggs, and meat production into line with consumer expectations of higher animal welfare. Trust in the organic seal depended on it, some advocates insisted."

Lynne Curry reports for Civil Eats December 18, 2017.

Source: Civil Eats, 12/19/2017