Bring Back Animal Welfare Rules for Organic Products

Target: Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Do not eliminate critical animal welfare protections for organic farming and livestock.

The Trump administration has gotten rid of rules that protect animals whose meat can be sold as organic. These higher standards for animal welfare, created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under President Obama, would have required sufficient space for poultry to move freely and fully extend their wings, and some access to the outdoors for livestock year-round. As it stands, it is estimated that about half of organic eggs come from hens living in complete confinement. Some large-scale organic egg farms keep as many as 180,000 birds in a single barn, with three hens housed in one square foot of space and given no outdoor time at all. Even medium-sized farms may only give each bird five square feet of space, in comparison to the standards in Europe, which give birds 43 square feet each. And yet USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach calls the American standards “effective.”

Current regulations for what can be considered organic are clear about antibiotics, growth hormones, and food for the animals, but not animal welfare and living conditions. And yet, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), six out of ten Americans consider higher welfare standards extremely important when it comes to farms that raise animals used to produce organic food, and more than half say it’s highly important that the animals are able to go outside and move freely. The OTA compiled data showing that out of 47,000 comments on this Obama-era welfare rule, only 28 were in favor of eliminating it. Clearly the priority of the USDA under Trump is large corporations—not only are American citizens against this move, but the large industrial farms that benefit from it make up only five percent of egg producers, while the smaller producers that provide better care for their animals are hurt. Sign below to demand that these animal be protections be put back in place.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

The elimination of higher welfare standards for animals whose meat can be sold as organic is cruel and irresponsible. These animals deserve to be protected from mistreatment, and the majority of Americans say it is highly important to them that standards of welfare be higher for animals used to produce organic food, and that the animals have access to the outdoors and enough space to move freely. Despite these facts reported by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), and the data it compiled showing that only 28 of 47,000 comments by Americans on this animal welfare rule were in favor of its withdrawal, many large farms give animals no outdoor space at all, and some keep as many as three hens per one square foot of space. It is clear that the current regulations are not effective.

Additionally, the OTA reports that eliminating these rules hurts the smaller egg producers that provide better conditions for their animals, while benefiting large industrial farms that make up only five percent of producers. As the OTA states, “Consumers trust that the Organic seal stands for a meaningful difference in production practices. It makes no sense that the Trump administration would pursue actions that could damage a marketplace that is giving American farmers a profitable alternative, creating jobs, and improving the economies of our rural areas.” Your responsibility as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture is to the country as a whole, not to lobbyists and election money. I urge you not to eliminate these animal welfare rules, and instead ensure their implementation as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Angelo Esslinger

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3 Comments

  1. People shouldn’t confuse organic with humane…Humane products should have their own strict distinction. It’s the humane thing to do!

  2. Gen Agustsson says:

    we are being lied about eggs

  3. Beth Marie says:

    Our current government cares nothing for animals. Very sad and discouraging. It’s becoming third world abuse. All for money and political gain. Secretary Zinke is an avid trophy hunter, Susan Combs has chosen profits and companies over animals’ well being. Its all politics and money. I thought President Trump was going to drain the swamp! Instead it’s invested with animal haters. I pity ALL these animals and us for being lied to about their continued abuse. I am disappointed at these events.

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