USDA to Include Animal Welfare in Organic Labeling

Apr 7, 2016

This is a re-post of a Meeting Place article. Important for those of you looking at organic meat production.

"USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on Thursday proposed amending organic livestock and poultry production requirements to include specific guidance on animal welfare.

The changes, based on recommendations from the National Organic Standards Board, aim to ensure consistency in animal handling and maintain consumer confidence in organically labeled products, AMS said.

Provisions of the proposed rule include:

  • Clarifying how producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their health and wellbeing throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifying which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.
  • Establishing minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.

“This proposal sets clear standards for organic animals, providing clarity to organic operations and certifying agents, and establishing a level playing field for all producers,” AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer said in a statement.  

The proposed rule will be published soon in the Federal Register and is available to view here."

By John M Harper
Author - Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor