The Battle to Ensure Protections for USDA Organic Animals

  • In 2017, after years of advocacy by the ASPCA and other stakeholders, the USDA issued organic program requirements for more humane animal housing, transportation and slaughter.
  • In 2018, the agency suddenly did an about-face and withdrew these important animal protections, allowing companies using factory farm conditions to continue to qualify as organic and use the “USDA Organic” label on their packages.
  • With the withdrawal now being challenged in court, the USDA is attempting to justify its decision in part by minimizing consumers’ willingness to pay for higher-welfare products.
  • The ASPCA submitted comments reminding the USDA of an abundance of data showing that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-welfare products—including the higher-welfare conditions that they mistakenly believe the “USDA Organic” label represents.

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