In October, the USDA published the long-awaited Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) final rule. The OLPS represents over a decade of work to clarify and improve animal welfare standards in organic certification, and outlines more consistent standards in six key areas including:
– Outdoor space requirements
– Indoor and outdoor living conditions
– Poultry stocking densities
– Preventative health care practices
– Physical alterations and euthanasia
– Transport, handling, and slaughter
Operations will need to comply with much of the rule within one year, but the rule includes a longer implementation period for indoor and outdoor space requirements.
Despite widespread support throughout most of the organic community, these standards have faced significant hurdles to publication. As many customers might remember,
USDA released its final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) regulation in early 2017, after years of vetting and review by organic stakeholders and industry and government experts. OLPP clarified USDA’s organic animal welfare standards, with an emphasis on poultry. The implementation of that final rule, however, was delayed and blocked, and the rule was ultimately withdrawn during the Trump administration. In the fall of 2017, Organic Trade Association (OTA) filed a lawsuit against the USDA for unlawfully delaying the implementation of the regulation and violating the Organic Foods Production Act. Spurred on by the lawsuit and continuing advocacy from the organic sector and the public for stronger animal welfare standards, the current Administration proposed the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) regulation last August, which is very much in line with the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule.
At Good Earth, we’ve long supported more stringent animal welfare standards in organic, and we are grateful to see the final publication of this important rule.