USDA Organic Livestock Practices Rule at OMB- Differing Viewpoints

A recent update at National Hog Farmer Online indicated that, “USDA’s Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule now is pending at the White House Office of Management and Budget, the last step in the rulemaking process before it becomes final. The National Pork Producers Council is urging the USDA to withdraw the rule, or if it’s approved before Jan. 20, the Trump USDA to repeal it. In comments in opposition to the rule submitted in July, the NPPC says the regulation’s new animal welfare standards for the National Organic Program, if enacted, would be the first time such criteria are codified in federal law and would present serious challenges to livestock producers.”

(Recall that the BartellPowell blog highlighted the this rule previously– first in April of this year, and again in May).

The National Hog Farmer article pointed out that, “NPPC requested that USDA reconsider the proposed animal welfare standards, arguing that, because animal welfare is not germane under the Organic Foods Production Act, USDA does not have clear authority to promulgate such rules.”

On the other hand, a joint statement yesterday from Rep. Chellie Pingree (D., Maine) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D., Ore.) regarding the United States Department of Agriculture rule on organic livestock welfare indicated that:

“Earlier this year, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a proposed rule that improves organic livestock welfare standards. This important rule clarifies existing requirements and strengthens protections to ensure organic products meet the same baseline welfare standards across the country. We believe the rules are necessary to meet the expectations that consumers have when they purchase organic products. Additionally, this rule is over a decade in the making and has broad support from the organic industry.

We support USDA’s work to preserve consumer confidence in the organic label, and we urge the Office of Management and Budget to quickly finalize the organic livestock welfare rule.”

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