USDA has proposed new animal welfare standards for the National Organic Program that, if enacted, would be the first time such standards are codified in federal law. This could present serious challenges to livestock producers.
Livestock organizations pointed out a number of problems with the proposed new standards, including: animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic” production; the standards add complexity to the organic certification process, creating significant barriers to existing and new organic producers; and they could jeopardize animal and public health.
Following are specific points on the new standards from the National Pork Producers Council.
Animal welfare is not germane to the basic concept of “organic”
- Organic has pertained to foods produced without synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms or growth hormones.
- The Organic Food Production Act of 1990 limited its coverage of livestock to feeding and medication practices.
- While the Agriculture Secretary can consider additional provisions, they must be within the scope of the 1990 act.