The U.S. organic food movement, representing dozens of brands, thousands of organic farmers and millions of organic consumers, as well as retailers, certifiers, and organizations, has published an open letter in the Washington Post, asking USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue to reinstate the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule that was issued in January 2017.
The OLPP rule is now being subverted by the influence of industrial agriculture ignoring 14 years of very public and transparent deliberation that has clarified and codified animal welfare practices in organic food production into a fully vetted standard with overwhelming support of both the organic industry and the American people. The rule gives the public the confidence that when they make organic food choices they are also making humane choices.
But this is not the agenda of the industrial food-product industry. Quoted in the publication Sustainable Pulse, George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley, who convened the cosigners to the open letter, said: “We have seen industrial agriculture fight against animal welfare again and again, whether it is cage-free or ending gestation crates. They don’t want any expectations for animal welfare in agriculture, period.”
“Organic belongs to the people.” Siemon continued, “And the law says so. The organic seal belongs to the farmers, handlers, processors, and consumers who choose organic for their families. It is a system that is supported by a stakeholder process, that provides a lifeline to family farms, and allows consumers to buy food that meets a higher standard for animal welfare.”
Cosigners to the open letter, a copy of which can be found here include: Organic Valley, Stonyfield Farms, Horizon Organic, Whole Foods Market, National Co+Op Grocers, Applegate, Vital Farms, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, Maple Hill Creamery, National Farmers Union, Dr. Bronner’s, The Humane Society of the United States, Organic Trade Association, Rodale Institute, Environmental Working Group, Oregon Tilth, Farm Aid, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Family Farm Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Organic Coalition, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Accredited Certifiers Association, and others..