Deadline for Livestock Comment Extended–Submit Your Comment Today!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)’s Agricultural Marketing Service extended the comment period for the Proposed Rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices. Stakeholders now have until July 13, 2016 to submit comments.

This landmark proposed rule adds numerous livestock and poultry production practices to the national organic standards. It proposes to add 19 new definitions to the standards and new requirements for livestock health care, mammalian living conditions, avian living conditions, transport, and slaughter.

CCOF welcomes this long-awaited rule and urges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to move forward with rulemaking as efficiently as possible. CCOF members already comply with the majority of the proposed rules and CCOF looks forward to all organic operations being held to the same high standards.

CCOF submitted a comment on the proposed rule that includes specific recommendations to ensure the standards are specific, achievable, and verifiable. Highlights of CCOF’s comment include:

  • CCOF suggests that language be added to allow administration of preventative medications to organic livestock.
  • CCOF strongly supports clarification that withholding medical treatment from an animal in order to maintain its organic status is not allowed.
  • CCOF strongly supports specifying that animals shall have “sufficient space and freedom to lie down in full lateral recumbence, turn around, stand up, fully stretch their limbs without touching other animals or the sides of the enclosure, and express normal patterns of behavior,” a rule that will prevent the use of gestation crates in hog production and other confinement practices in organic mammal production.
  • CCOF strongly supports the determination that poultry house porches are part of indoor, not outdoor, access. CCOF has never certified poultry operations that use porches and has consistently opposed porches in certified organic operations.
  • CCOF fully endorses the biosecurity provisions set forth in the rule. The proposed rule allows birds to be confined in case of “a documented occurrence of a disease in the region or relevant migratory pathway.” These exceptions are reasonable, enforceable, and will protect organic flocks from disease.

Read CCOF’s entire comment.                                         

CCOF staff will work with anyone who wants to better understand the proposed rule or submit a comment. For further information, contact CCOF Senior Policy Specialist Jane Sooby at jsooby@ccof.org or (831) 346-6239.

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