Please tell USDA to Prioritize Animal Welfare in Organic Production

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Consumers Expect “Organic” to Mean Good Welfare - Photo by Mike SuarezDear Humanitarian,

In 2013, the US Department of Agriculture declined to act on a series of recommendations—made by its own advisory National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—to strengthen the animal welfare criteria for the National Organic Program. That may be about to change! Thanks to efforts by you, AWI, and a coalition of advocacy groups, the USDA is in the process of proposing new animal welfare regulations for organic production. Sadly, there are some within the USDA and the organic industry loath to prioritize animal welfare. Please join us in telling the USDA that the time for strong animal welfare standards is now.

New regulations are needed if the organic label is to provide assurance of high animal welfare. Currently, giant organic operations that house tens of thousands of animals under one roof are fighting against meaningful animal welfare regulations. This puts smaller, family-operated organic farms that provide animals a better life at a competitive disadvantage. Consumers, unaware that the welfare of animals on organic farms can range from very low to very high, often aren't getting what they think they're paying for.

The NOSB’s proposed regulations give some organically raised animals more space and greater opportunity to go outdoors to forage, exercise, and interact with other animals. AWI and its allies wrote the USDA urging the department to implement and improve upon the NOSB’s proposed changes in order to guarantee a high level of animal welfare and ensure consumer expectations are met for organically produced foods.

Write Your Letter - Tell the USDA Organic Program to Make Animal Welfare a Priority
What You Can Do:
Please tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack that the National Organic Program should make animal welfare a high priority by publishing its proposed rule on animal welfare. You can send an email to Secretary Vilsack through AWI's Compassion Index by clicking here.

You may also write to Secretary Vilsack at the following address:

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Please be sure to share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to write, too.

As always, thank you very much for your help!


Michelle Pawliger
Farm Animal Policy Associate

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