Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially rolled back Obama-era rules for how animals should be treated in order for their meat to be sold as “certified organic,” including a requirement that the animals be kept clean, dry, and free of lesions.
The USDA on Monday announced that it is officially withdrawing the final rule it delayed for the third time in November, arguing the rule exceeded the department’s statutory authority and could have had a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program.
“The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” Greg Ibach, under secretary of Agriculture for marketing and regulatory programs, said in a statement.
“The organic industry’s continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.”
The Hill adds:
Finalized under the Obama administration in April 2016, the rule largely dictated how producers and handlers participating in the National Organic Program are required to treat livestock and poultry to ensure their wellbeing.
The rule stipulated, for example, that poultry must be housed in spaces that are big enough for the birds to move freely, stretch their wings, stand normally and engage in natural behaviors. Livestock, meanwhile, must be provided access to an outdoor space year round. In withdrawing the final rule, the USDA said its Agricultural Marketing Service only has the congressional authority to regulate aspects of animal care that relate to the ingestion or administration of nonorganic substances.