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Organic Trade Association dismayed at USDA proposal to withdraw organic animal welfare rule

*Media Alert*

Maggie McNeil
(
)
 (
December 15, 2017
) — 

The Organic Trade Association on Friday issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule, which will be published in the Federal Register on Monday.

“The Organic Trade Association is dismayed at the action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule.

This groundless step by USDA is being taken against a backdrop of nearly universal support among the organic businesses, and consumers for the fully vetted rules that USDA has now rejected. By the department’s own count, out of the more than 47,000 comments the department received in the last public comment period for the regulation, 99 percent were in favor of the rule becoming effective without further delay on Nov 14. USDA noted that of those 47,000 comments, only 28 supported withdrawing the rule.

It is against this overwhelming public input that USDA ignores growing consumer demands for food transparency. Consumers trust that the Organic seal stands for a meaningful difference in production practices. It makes no sense that the Trump Administration would pursue actions that could damage a marketplace that is giving American farmers a profitable alternative, creating jobs, and improving the economies of our rural areas. Most striking is the administration’s continued confusion that organic standards are mandatory rather than voluntary. Farmers, ranchers and businesses choose to be in the organic marketplace, and Congress intended that industry and consumers work together to develop organic standards. This action undermines that goal.

The Organic Trade Association has turned to the courts to uphold organic standards. In anticipation of the USDA’s continued attempts to kill this regulation, the Organic Trade Association last Friday filed an amended complaint in Federal Court. We will continue our fight to uphold organic standards, that this Administration continues to willfully ignore by repeatedly delaying this fully vetted and final voluntary organic standard, and now proposing to withdraw it. We will see the department in court and are confident that we will prevail on this important issue for the organic sector."

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