What industry doesn’t want you to know
VIROQUA, Wis., Oct 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ —
The long arms of Big Ag are reaching into organic. A flurry of closed-door meetings with lawmakers has drawn out the public comment period on an animal welfare rule in organic, giving the conventional food industry more time to overwhelm the Federal Register with reasons to kill it.
The proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) rule would enshrine animal welfare as an essential part of the organic label. Although Cornucopia and other organic stakeholders have long called for a stronger rule, OLPS offers a crucial starting point.
Why is conventional ag so interested in organic rulemaking? Improved animal welfare is a threat to the bottom line for industrial food producers. Big Ag is worried that mounting attention on the true costs of industrial agriculture will eventually lead to regulatory oversight that would obliterate their business model. “What’s good for shareholders is brutal for livestock and poultry,” says Cornucopia Executive Director Melody Morrell.
This thinking is currently playing out in the Supreme Court, where the pork industry is attempting to stop a California animal welfare law.
The stakes for organic farmers who already employ ethical livestock agriculture are high: “It is unlikely we will get another chance to ensure that animal welfare improves under the organic label,” Morrell says.
Now is the time for a united front
Cornucopia is urging consumers and retailers to drown out the voices of industrialization by promptly adding their personal comment. USDA needs to know that consumers want better animal welfare and are willing to pay for it.
“We need animal welfare improvements immediately,” says Cornucopia Board President and organic broiler producer Cameron Molberg. “This rule has been 20 years in the making, and we can’t afford to miss this opportunity.”
The Cornucopia Institute is a nonprofit watchdog that defends and promotes the integrity of certified organic food.
Michele Marchetti, Deputy Director, [email protected]