As we recently saw in this letter from Gene Baur, the USDA is in the process of producing new regulations to govern the treatment of animals raised “organic.”
Big Ag has tried to hijack the regulatory process at the proposal stage, and is now trying to get the Senate to weaken the regulations before they even take effect. Please click here to find your senators’ contact information, and ask them not to allow Big Ag to undermine the new organic standards. Here is sample language:
Dear Senator X,
I am writing today as your constituent, asking you to oppose any effort to weaken the USDA’s proposed animal treatment standards for organic farms (AMS-NOP-15-0012).
The USDA’s organic label should signify a higher standard of care than conventional animal production. I’m sure you agree that all animals deserve enough space, outdoor access, and environmental enrichment to perform natural behaviors. I strongly oppose any efforts to undermine the USDA’s new rules, and urge you to oppose it as well.
This week, a video blog post takes a data-based look at the impacts of farm animal welfare reforms. The powerpoint is excerpted from a plenary presentation given at the Animal Rights 2012 national conference.
Data Point 1: Welfare reforms reduce suffering and provide immediate good for animals
Note: the following white papers review the current research and cite dozens of peer-reviewed studies on the welfare of animals in different housing systems.
Sumner, D. A., et al. (2011, January). Economic and market issues on the sustainability of egg production in the United States: Analysis of alternative production systems. Poultry Science 90(1): 241-250. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-00822. Retrieved from http://www.poultryscience.org/docs/PS_822.pdf
Note: while not mentioned in the video, the above study concludes that banning cages for egg-laying hens in the U.S. would reduce the number of hens raised (anywhere) for U.S. egg consumption by about 3%, meaning 8 million less hens would be raised and killed for egg consumption.
Data Point 4: Media coverage of animal welfare issues causes people to eat less meat