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USDA withdraws organic rule for livestock and poultry

The USDA has announced its intent to withdraw the proposed organic rule for livestock and poultry.  The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule was finalized in final days of the Obama Administration and was one of several regulations put on hold when the new administration took office.

Friday’s move formally terminates the rule.

The rule would have added new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions.  It also expands upon existing requirements for livestock care and production practices.

Livestock groups like the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have opposed the proposed rule.  The NPPC says the proposed standards were not science-based and would limit consideration of livestock as organic to feed and medication practices.

The Organic Trade Association has been a strong supporter of the rule.  In a statement released on Friday, the organization said they were “dismayed” by the action of the USDA.  The OTA says it will continue to fight to uphold organic standards.  In anticipation of the USDA’s move, the association filed an amended complaint in Federal Court to uphold the standard last Friday and plans to challenge the move in court.

The USDA’s intent to withdraw the final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Monday.  It is subject to a public comment period.

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