The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has released statements in response to two recently proposed policy changes related to animal welfare, and has called upon producers to take action against them, and in defense of the American farmers that could be seriously affected by the legislation.
NPPC is encouraging pork producers to weigh in on the new organic animal welfare standards proposed by USDA. The standards are unprecedented due to the fact that, if they are passed, it will be the first time that welfare standards are codified in federal law.
NPPC believes that this could potentially present serious challenges to livestock producers. The organization believes that the standards will not change the concept of organic food, but could be broadened to encompass conventional livestock production. NPPC has urged producers to submit comments in opposition to the proposed rules by the July 13 deadline. Click here to submit a comment online.
Another recent proposal that NPPC opposes comes from the state of Massachusetts. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, the state’s highest court, recently allowed an initiative related to livestock housing to appear on this November’s ballot. The initiative, backed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), would ban the use of certain farm animal housing in the state, including gestation pens for pregnant sows, pens for veal calves and battery cages for laying hens, and would prohibit the in-state sale of meat and eggs from confined animals.
NPPC opposes the initiative, and believes it would prevent hog farmers from caring for their animals. The use of gestation crates for pregnant sows has been approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and animal health professionals have held a long standing recognition of individual pens as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy.
NPPC believes that the banning of interstate meat and eggs sales based on production styles would needlessly drive up the price of those products, which would likely reduce their consumption. A ban for reasons other than public health and safety also seem to violate the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.