CCOF believes that organic livestock standards should require humane and ethical treatment of animals during all stages of production, including transport and slaughter. CCOF, consistent with our mission and principles, has long advocated for NOP standards that ensure outdoor and soil access.
In December 2011, the NOSB unanimously passed a recommendation on Animal Welfare and Stocking Rates that capped off several years of work on these subjects. The NOSB recommendations were consistent with CCOF and other organizations’ recommendations.
In June 2013, the NOP released a report on the economic impact analysis of the potential changes to living conditions for organic poultry and stated that, "Given other urgent priorities at this time, we do not anticipate addressing the NOSB proposals on animal welfare in the near future. However, we are sharing this report to inform stakeholders and encourage future discussions on this complex topic."
Without clear and strong standards regarding animal welfare standards, USDA-accredited organic certifiers are left to make their own interpretation on several issues. We are concerned that this inconsistent enforcement creates an uneven playing field for producers, particularly poultry producers. Increasingly we hear that poultry producers are hesitant to make future investments in infrastructure to improve their operations because they don’t know what spacing and outdoor access requirements may be put in place.
CCOF has written a letter to Secretary Vilsack urging the USDA to promulgate clean and meaningful regulations to strengthen the animal welfare requirements as part of organic standards, particularly noting the importance of ensuring that poultry have access to soil, not concrete porches.