This isn’t the first time the people responsible for setting the standards to protect us have let us down, and unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. Applegate was very disappointed with the United States Department of Agriculture’s decision to completely withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, which was more than a decade in the making and almost universally supported.
The rule would’ve put forward a defined set of animal welfare standards for organic. Currently, the only animal care practices covered under the organic seal on meat and poultry are the prohibition of antibiotics and the required use of pesticide-free and organic animal feed. The USDA proposed rule addressed animal health care practices and living conditions, like establishing minimum space requirements for poultry and prohibiting physical alterations such as debeaking of chickens and routine tail docking of hogs.
Applegate has always lived up to the idea that raising animals humanely is an essential part of the definition for organic AND natural meat, and we were optimistic that, finally, others would rise to meet us. Today we’re disappointed, but still determined.
We clearly have work to do pushing for humane animal treatment just like we are still advocating for laws that’d prohibit the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
So what now? Two weeks ago, we told you that Applegate filed a declaration in federal court in support of a lawsuit demanding that the USDA enact the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, and that we contributed to the legal fund of the Organic Trade Association, the group that filed the lawsuit against the USDA. We’re consulting with them now on next steps and clear path forward. In the meantime, Applegate will continue to walk the walk and encourage others to join us.
We promise to never lower our standards because you should never have to lower your expectations.
Learn more about our animal welfare standards.