The Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) Proposed Rule encompasses decades of widespread organic community debate and support to update organic standards with critical animal welfare provisions.

Click to read & sign our PETITION to USDA

OLPS clarifies the production standards of avian and mammalian livestock to support consistent enforcement across producers and re-establish a strong organic label that assures consumers that USDA-certified organic livestock products meet a robust and uniform standard valuing both environmental and animal welfare. The proposed rule:

  • Clarifies living conditions, healthcare, transportation, and slaughter practices to support animal welfare for mammalian livestock species.
  • Establishes poultry indoor and outdoor space requirements and stocking density limits, and clarifies that enclosed porches are not considered outdoor spaces.

Current USDA organic standards already require outdoor access and appropriate living conditions for poultry and livestock that allow animals to express their natural instincts. The majority of organic livestock farmers uphold these standards; however, these regulations have not been consistently enforced and some certifiers have allowed large poultry companies to use narrow, enclosed porches instead of true outdoor access. This inequitable enforcement and interpretation has created an unfair playing field for organic livestock farmers and has undermined consumers’ confidence in the organic label.  OLPS clarifies the standards for animal living conditions to require true outdoor access and room to express natural instincts for all poultry operations.

USDA has proposed two possible implementation periods (5 years vs 15 years) for certified egg-producing operations to meet the outdoor space requirements for laying hens. These stronger standards are long overdue and USDA needs to set a faster timeline for when organic operations need to meet these standards. Take action now to 1) demonstrate widespread industry and consumer support for the proposed rule and 2) tell USDA to set a more aggressive implementation time of 3 years (letting them know that the 15-year implementation plan is NOT viable).

What’s at Stake?

Health and competitiveness of family farms – inconsistent animal welfare standards for organic chickens create an unlevel playing field for organic farmers already providing true outdoor access.

Advancement of organic animal welfare  75% of Americans are either very or somewhat concerned about the treatment of animals by the meat and dairy industry.

Consumer trust and integrity of the organic label – 89% of Americans say the USDA should periodically review and update the organic standards to keep pace with new science and consumer expectations.

Click to read & sign our PETITION to USDA