We Need Your Help: Animal Welfare Rule Delayed Again by USDA

If you support the organic rulemaking process and strong organic livestock and poultry standards, please take a moment to email the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and tell him that the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule must be implemented without delay. 

After postponing the rule for five months, this week USDA stalled again, issuing an additional six-month delay for implementation. USDA also opened another comment period on the rule with comments due June 9, asking people to weigh in on these four alternatives:

  1. Let the rule become effective. This means that the rule would become effective on November 14, 2017. 
  2. Suspend the rule indefinitely. During the suspension, USDA could consider whether to implement, modify, or withdraw the final rule. 
  3. Delay the effective date of the rule further, beyond the effective date of November 14, 2017. 
  4. Withdraw the rule so that USDA would not pursue implementation of the rule.
Comments must include the docket number AMS– NOP–17–0031; NOP–15–06A, and/or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 0581–AD74 and clearly indicate your reasons for supporting any of these options. Submit comments via regulations.gov.
The organic community worked together for 14 years to clarify organic animal standards, and the result was the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. This rule specifies animal living conditions, transportation, and slaughter protocols. The rule was finalized in January 2017, but its implementation was delayed until May 19 by the incoming administration. This week, Secretary Perdue delayed it for another six months. Learn more about what the new rule would accomplish.
Meanwhile, some large-scale organic poultry operations have lobbied Congress to jettison the new rules because they do not want to provide full outdoor access for poultry. Though the rule is widely supported by most organic poultry and livestock producers, politicians have tried to amend unrelated bills—including the recently passed fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill—to prevent the National Organic Program (NOP) from implementing the animal welfare rules. 
CCOF supports the new livestock and poultry standards because they level the playing field for producers of all scales. We are concerned that Congress and the USDA are attempting to thwart the organic rulemaking process and interfere with implementation of the new rules.
CCOF has worked to protect the new rules by writing letters to the Acting Administrator who oversees the NOP and elected officials requesting that they defend the rules. CCOF is also leading a member letter-writing effort supporting full implementation of the new rules and helped gather signatures for a support letter spearheaded by OTA. CCOF policy staff is doing continued outreach to top officials to ensure the rules are fully implemented.
These rules are still under threat until they are finalized into law. Please email Secretary Perdue and tell him that continued delay is unacceptable. For additional information, contact the CCOF policy team.