Last Chance to Comment on USDA Animal Welfare Rollback

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You have just one more day to voice your disapproval of the USDA’s move to roll back animal welfare regulations. Deadline is Wednesday, Jan. 17 and the Organic Trade Association is making it easy.

As Whole Foods Magazine reported last month, the Trump Administration proposed to withdraw final ruling on regulations that would require organic egg factories to provide their hens with outdoor space to graze. The proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP), which fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, were finalized at the end of the Obama administration.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) reacted with outrage at the time, and is now calling all organic advocates and animal welfare activists to voice their discontent by signing the form here.

Currently, organic rules require animals to have access to outdoor grazing. However, big egg producers hold tens of thousands of hens in houses that only have access to the outdoors through small enclosed porches, rather than pastures. The finalized rules at the end of the Obama administration deemed these porches inadequate.

“All we are asking is 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 like tail docking of cows and unrestricted beak trimming on birds,” the OTA states on its web site.

In related news, today the nation’s organic food movement, representing a mulititude of  brands, organic farmers and organic consumers, as well as retailers, certifiers, and organizations, published an open letter in the Washington Post.

The cosigners are demanding that the USDA stop interfering with the public process that has created clear standards for animal welfare in organic food production.  In the full-page paid advertisement, the group asks USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to reinstate the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule that was issued in January 2017.

> Take your stand here.

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