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Fight back for organic integrity and animal welfare!

Comments are needed by January 17 on plans announced by the Trump Administration to scuttle the final rule on organic animal welfare (the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule, or OLPP) that was adopted as a final rule a year ago.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue has repeatedly delayed implementation of the final rule on animal welfare in organic production. The effective date of the final rule published on January 19, 2017, delayed on February 9, 2017, and again on May 10, 2017, is now delayed until May 14, 2018. By setting minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements and defining “outdoors,” the rule would make it more difficult for factory egg and poultry farms to be certified organic. Although many wished it to be stronger, the rule received widespread support. More than 40,000 agriculture groups, farmers, and others urged USDA to finalize the standard; only 28 commenters opposed it. The Organic Trade Association sued USDA in September for failing to finalize the standard. Now, USDA proposes to withdraw the rule altogether.

>>Tell USDA to implement the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule now! [Sample letter here.] [Regulations.gov here.] Then give your message to your U.S. Senators and Representative by pressing the submit button below.

The OLPP requires that organic chickens have access to the outdoors, space to move around, sunlight and fresh air, and that animals on farms be protected from unnecessary and potentially harmful procedures, such as tail docking of cows and unrestricted beak trimming on birds. The majority of organic livestock farmers already comply with these rules. USDA’s inexcusable rollback of organic standards is the biggest attack on organic since it tried to allow GMOs in the original standard nearly 20 years ago.

>>Tell USDA to implement the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule now! [Sample letter here.] [Regulations.gov here.] Then give your message to your U.S. Senators and Representative by pressing the submit button below.

Note: The link below should open in a new browser window/tab, making it easier to return to this page. You may copy the letter below and paste it into the space provided at Regulations.gov. It may help to identify yourself as an organic consumer or producer, as appropriate.

For letters to Congress, please note that the menu of choices for "title" is dictated by the recipients of these letters, and letters without a required title will not be delivered. We suggest that those who would like a gender-neutral title award themselves an honorary doctorate. Thank you for taking action!

Sample letter to USDA:

I oppose USDA’s proposal to withdraw the final Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule. These standards are critical to preserving trust in the organic label. If consumers see that the standards for poultry and livestock products are not consistent across operations, consumer confidence in the organic label overall will be negatively impacted.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule has widespread support from the industry and a full spectrum of stakeholders. It is the result of more than a decade of work on the part of the National Organic Standards Board and organic community. The USDA has received thousands of comments in support of letting the rule move forward without further delays. During the last comment period, 99 percent of commenters asked the USDA to let the rule go into effect as written without further delays.

This attempt to withdraw the animal care standards was done without consultation with the National Organic Standards Board — the very group of farmers, processors, scientists, and public representatives designated by Congress to advise USDA on organic standards.

The majority of organic livestock farmers already comply with these rules. Farmers who already adhere to high standards are being undercut because of loopholes that allow a small number of producers to deny meaningful outdoor access to animals.

Sincerely,


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