Farm animals need your help. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently refused to adopt any of the animal welfare guidelines suggested by its own advisory board in what appears to be an effort to protect five massive “organic” egg producers. Without these guidelines in place, producers will continue to abuse animals in violation of the law and the “organic” seal will be misleading to consumers. Three years ago, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) told the USDA that their organic program was poorly managed, badly enforced, and that welfare standards were so vague that “organic” could mean just about anything. The USDA promised to do better, and charged the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) with making recommendations designed to improve its organic program, including making recommendations for, among other things, precise outdoor access guidance for ruminants, like cows.Remarkably, however, the USDA recently announced that it will not even adopt the NOSB’s existing suggestions regarding outdoor access for poultry, which were created more than 10 years ago, despite the fact current standards are every bit as broad as those condemned as in violation of the law by the OIG. Even more outrageous, the USDA declared it won’t adopt any of the animal welfare recommendations suggested by NOSB.The USDA appears to have made this decision in order to protect five massive “organic” egg producers that are raising hundreds of thousands of hens in conditions no better than conventional cage-free production.The USDA’s refusal to act to improve its standards not only allows the worst “organic” farms to continue to certify industrial farming practices as organic, it also inadvertently encourages every other organic producer to lower animal welfare standards in an effort to compete with these massive farms. Refusing to implement the recommendations made by the NOSB will create an animal welfare race to the bottom, and it violates both the spirit and the letter of the USDA’s organic mandate. Please take action right now. Tell the USDA to fulfill its promise and its legal mandate by implementing the recommendations of its own advisory body.
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Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]