This rule will ensure consumer confidence in the growing organic market by promoting consistency across the organic industry, supporting the continued growth of the organic livestock and poultry sector.
It’s an important step that will strengthen consumer confidence in the USDA organic seal and ensure that organic agriculture continues to provide economic opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and businesses across the country.
The rule clarifies how organic producers and handlers must treat their animals, brings clarity to the existing USDA organic regulations, and adds new requirements for organic livestock and poultry living conditions, transport, and slaughter practices. For example, the rule establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for organic chickens, clarifies that outdoor spaces must include soil and vegetation, adds humane handling requirements, and clarifies humane slaughter requirements.
There are three stages to implementing the rule. Within one year, all provisions – except for outdoor access requirements for layers and indoor space requirements for broilers – must be implemented. Within three years, organic broiler operations must comply with the indoor space requirements. Within five years, all organic poultry operations must comply with the outdoor access requirements.
Most organic livestock and poultry producers already comply with the new requirements. In fact, many producers use multiple certifications to demonstrate their animal health and welfare practices to consumers. This rule could make additional animal health and welfare certifications unnecessary, reducing the burden on organic producers.
Wednesday January 18, 2017/ USDA/ United States.