Several livestock industry groups have responded to a last minute regulation issued by the Obama administration this week that adds animal welfare standards to the nation’s organic food production law.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) amendment to the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 will increase regulations for organic producers raising livestock and poultry, including new indoor and outdoor space requirements for animals. The amendment will also specify which common practices are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production. Livestock groups fear this specification will eliminate the ability for producers to use their discretion when making sound decisions about animal care.
“This parting gift from Agriculture Secretary [Tom] Vilsack is not welcomed,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “This unnecessary, unscientific midnight regulation won’t win him any friends in the agriculture community he’s apparently joining. This is precisely the type of executive branch overreach that Congress will reign in through regulatory reform.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Tracy Brunner released the following statement in response to the final rule:
“The Obama Administration has bowed to the whims and demands of animal activists rather than talking to the industry as a whole to see what is best for the program and for consumers. This rule sends a clear signal that an activist agenda is more important to the outgoing Administration than any true attempt to clarify a consumer’s perception of what ‘organic’ means.”