On October 25, 2010, the National Organic Standards Board will hold their annual meeting.
One of the issues up for discussion is making sure chickens have outdoor access and enough space to exercise and engage in natural behaviors. A recent report by the Cornucopia Institute found that many farms had tiny porches or patches of dirt that most of the chickens couldn't access, and they were using this as their "outdoor space" to qualify for the organic label.
When people pay more for organic, they assume they're paying for higher animal welfare standards. But Big Ag and their lobbyists want "organic" to only apply to the absence of chemicals.
The National Organic Standards Board has stated that "Animal welfare is a basic principle of organic production." Consumers want the organic label to mean something -- for their health, for the environment and for the animals. Don't let factory farms redefine organic animal welfare standards.
Photo credit: Gavin Schaefer
Industrial agribusinesses want "organic" to only apply to the absence of man-made chemicals. However, like the National Organic Standards Board, most consumers believe that animal welfare is a core principle of organic farming.
I urge you to continue to promote and regulate strong animal welfare standards for the organic label. Animals need space to move, ability to engage in natural behaviors and access to the outdoors.
Thank you for protecting consumers, animals and the environment.