USDA ‘doing everything’ to issue organic livestock welfare rule | TheFencePost.com

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USDA ‘doing everything’ to issue organic livestock welfare rule

The Agriculture Department's organic livestock welfare rule is under consideration at the White House Office of Management and Budget, but USDA will do all in its power to issue the rule before the Obama administration ends on Jan. 20, a USDA spokeswoman said.

"We don't have any updates just yet as it is still with OMB, but we are doing everything we can to ensure this high-priority rule is finalized," the spokeswoman said in response to a query about a statement from Reps. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., urging USDA and OMB to finalize the rule.

Pingree and DeFazio said in their joint statement: "Earlier this year, the United States Department of Agriculture issued a proposed rule that improves organic livestock welfare standards. This important rule clarifies existing requirements and strengthens protections to ensure organic products meet the same baseline welfare standards across the country. We believe the rules are necessary to meet the expectations that consumers have when they purchase organic products. Additionally, this rule is over a decade in the making and has broad support from the organic industry.

"We support USDA's work to preserve consumer confidence in the organic label, and we urge the Office of Management and Budget to quickly finalize the organic livestock welfare rule." ❖