animal welfare certified vs organic
November 13th, 2020

. By providing the space and environments that animals need, organic farmers can reduce stress and disease (and their consequent side effects) on their farms. Administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of USDA, “organic” is a marketing term applied to agricultural food and fiber products that meet specific production standards. Our independent, deep, and unbiased reporting isn't possible without your support. On one side, the majority of organic farmers living up to the spirit of the law versus a handful of agribusinesses using a loophole to gain market advantage. Formal announcement of the delay is slated to publish in the Register on November 14—the same day Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was expected to issue a final decision on the rule. As well as requiring that animals are genuinely free-range, living conditions, food quality, the use of antibiotics, as well as transport and slaughter are also covered. Get a weekly dish of features, commentary and insight from the food movement’s front lines. Regardless of which way the rule goes, it’s clear that public awareness around animal care is changing farming practices industry-wide. Unlike “organic,” however, there’s no legal definition for “humane But poultry producer Perdue isn’t pausing to question the degree of consumer understanding. of animal welfare standards, referred to as the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule. “The indefensible abuses and environmental health costs of this form of intensive industrial agriculture are unsustainable in the long run.”. Acknowledged by Consumer Reports as the only “highly meaningful” food label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability, Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW (AWA) is an independent, nonprofit farm certification program—and now one of the nation’s top 5 … Must not routinely be given antibiotics. “The current regulation and the enabling legislation in the Organic Foods Production Act already incorporates some really clear requirements that, if enforced, would make organics the gold standard for the consumer marketplace,” he says. Oregon Tilth, which inspects about 1,000 organic farms in 30 states, stands with other certifying agencies in supporting the rule change. In June of 2017, NCBA president Craig Uden wrote to AMS Director Paul Lewis: “We also want to reassert that the NOP is a marketing program, not an animal health, welfare or safety program.” In this view, organic is purely about inputs—the feed and medications—not management practices. Now it’s up to Trump’s USDA. The new organic rule, which similarly fills in the blanks about what outdoor access means for poultry, is only the second time the AMS has amended organic regulations. The trade group’s public statement pointed to its own “Pork Quality Assurance Program” and other international standards in development for pigs and stated, “animal welfare is not unique to organic production.”, Most industry groups operate under some version of animal welfare principles called the Five Freedoms. Find out more about the specific standards for cows, pigs, poultry and sheep as well as our standards for fish farming. It mandated water, food, and rest periods during transport over 28 hours. And who is driving the retailers? And yet, organic eggs—or rather, laying hens—are at the epicenter of this organic crisis. This list of prohibitions to qualify as organic is cut and dried. The law stands today, amended in 1994 to include trucking, but is lightly enforced—meaning there have been no documented federal cases involving enforcement for more than 40 years. They both have that green logo,” says Mark Kastel, director of, , an industry watchdog and advocacy group that. Citing harm to organic farmers, certifiers, retailers, animal welfare advocates and consumers, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), Not in the eyes of USDA. In the ensuing 15 years, as the organic market has bloomed, a few massive and influential shell egg companies — including Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch in Michigan, Rose Acre Farms in Indiana, and Hidden Villa Ranch in California — that represent just five percent of all U.S. egg producers, have dominated organic egg sales. Eggs have already received most of the media attention surrounding the organic animal welfare rule and lawsuit. Certified … rule for cattle and sheep requiring that these ruminants graze for at least 120 days per year. The OTA smelled politics at work and, with 100 percent support of its governing board representing 9,500 organic industry members, sued to force USDA’s hand to enact the final rule immediately and as written. For animal welfare advocates especially, the new organic standards set a low bar. American Grassfed Association. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of The Counter. But organic certifiers see it differently. A long-delayed rule was supposed to change that. So, here is a Wikipedia-like version of events to pinpoint the bone of contention. Big Ag wants to have no animal welfare rules at all.”, In the public comments about the organic rule change, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest organization representing family farmers, insisted that the organic animal welfare standards went beyond the intent of the NOP. We may change the Terms at any time, and the changes may become effective immediately upon posting. Enforcement of the organic standards falls to the agency’s field of accredited certifiers. But the fight is about more than birds. “The understanding was that these [standards] were going to be developed over time,” says Laura Batcha, OTA’s CEO and executive director. As a pushback against industrialization and the impacts of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on water, land, air, and animals, organic is bundled into the ideals of environmentalism. Organic eggs—or rather, laying hens—are at the epicenter of this organic crisis. It is your responsibility to review these Terms prior to each use of the Services and, by continuing to use the Services, you agree to all changes as well as Terms in place at the time of the use. Or is climate-friendly meat possible? The “organic” certification goes further in this respect, and requires that feed must be organic as well – meaning that it was produced without the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers. Eggs have already received most of the media. The humane slaughter law, dating from 1958, requires measures to prevent “needless suffering” of all animals in USDA processing plants but exempts religious slaughter, including Halal and Kosher. The new organic animal welfare rule—among many other significant provisions for livestock and poultry care, living conditions, transport, and slaughter—outlaws porch systems. If you’ve caught wind of reports that the organic. passed in 1873. And they do not want to give up their rapidly growing market share or their cost of production advantages from raising millions of birds in multistory aviaries. Published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017, the final rule, officially called “Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices,” was slated to go into effect in March of this year. you’ve bought may have come from domestic factory-farmed cows and chickens, it’s reasonable to question the value of buying foods bearing the USDA organic seal at all. Does not use Oxytocin (even though it is allowed by the National Organic Program) … “We see a reconnection between our practices and what our customers want and the products they buy,” says Mark McKay, executive vice president of business development at Perdue. The animal welfare component is where “organic… “If we’re talking about putting animals outdoors, there is an issue,” says Joy Mench, an animal science professor emeritus and consultant at University of California, Davis. It will not clear up confusion in the marketplace over the dizzying array of labels on packages and competing animal welfare certifications. “The whole idea for the voluntary standard is for consumers to choose,” says Batcha from OTA.

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