Animal welfare regulations have been eliminated under the Trump administration, meaning that the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) which regulates the welfare standards of farmed animals whose meat is sold as ‘organic’. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) overturned the legislation this week, which was enforced under the Obama administration in 2016.
The legislation was put in place after animal rights organisations campaigned for improved standards for farmed animals, which included simplicities such as chickens being able to stretch and spread their wings, and other animals being able to have access to going outdoors. The USDA delayed the voting on this and prevented it from being enforced on multiple occasions by overturning the application, despite 47,000 public signatures in favour of expanding the regulations put in place for animal welfare for farmed animals.
Lindsay Wolf, Vice President of Investigations at animal rights group Mercy For Animals said: “This is a case of the fox guarding the henhouse. The government officials responsible for regulating the agricultural industry are bending over backwards to protect corporate agribusiness profits at the expense of animals, food safety, and workers’ rights. As a result, millions of farmed animals are being deprived of the benefit of modest laws and regulations designed to protect their welfare and promote the public interest.”
Currently, the definition of the word organic within the meat industry does not necessarily enforce the animal to be raised outdoors for prolonged periods of time as many people are led to believe, and only has to be fed on organic feed, in some cases. Legislation on the standards of welfare for organic meat vary in different countries, however this abolishment of the law surrounding improved welfare continues to put food safety at risk.