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Agricultural News


Organic Marketing Rule Flawed- National Cattlemen and Oklahoma Cattlemen Call for USDA to Withdraw Proposal

Thu, 14 Jul 2016 06:03:05 CDT

Organic Marketing Rule Flawed- National Cattlemen and Oklahoma Cattlemen Call for USDA to Withdraw Proposal Today, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association submitted comments on the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service’s National Organic Program; Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices proposed rule. NCBA President Tracy Brunner, said that voluntary agency marketing programs are not the place to codify animal production practices.



“Organic programs are marketing programs and therefore not the place to prescribe animal welfare practices,” said Brunner. “America’s cattle producers are the best stewards of their herds and they take pride in the welfare of their animals. That is why, over the past thirty years, cattlemen and women have worked to develop and improve animal care and handling standards through the Beef Quality Assurance Program. Rather than set rigid political standards in statute, the Beef Quality Assurance program is driven by experts in animal care, using industry-accepted and peer reviewed science to set the program guidelines. Instead of attempting to address continuously changing animal care and handling practices in this rule, we recommend the USDA suggest that organic producers become BQA certified.”



While the Beef Quality Assurance Program is recognized as the gold standard in cattle care and handling, there is concern that setting welfare standards through the National Organic Program proposed rule will mislead consumers and support standards that do not have a basis in science.



“We know the Beef Quality Assurance Program sets the highest standard for animal welfare, and that standard is continuously reviewed and updated as new science becomes available,” said Brunner. “Efforts by the USDA to set a secondary animal welfare standard for organic will inevitably mislead consumers into thinking that such arbitrary standards are handled in a manner different than conventionally produced beef. The cattle industry supports voluntary marketing programs like the organic program and we have producers who participate in these programs, but consumers need to clearly understand regardless of what product they choose to buy the commitment to safety, quality and animal welfare remains the same.”



NCBA encourages the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service to withdraw the current proposed rule and work with all producers to draft a rule that gives consumers choice and producers marketing opportunities that do not disparage conventional products.



Click here to review the entire statement provided by NCBA.



NCBA's affiliate in the state of Oklahoma- the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association also submitted comments to the USDA on the Organic rule- agreeing with NCBA on Organic standards not being the place to establish animal welfare standards. OCA President Charlie Swanson says that to put animal welfare standards into the organic marketing rule is an attempt to "demonize conventional raised livestock."


You can read the entire submission from the OCA by clicking on the PDF link at the bottom of this story.









00333_OklahomaCattlemen_AssociationcommentsProposed_Organic_Rule_July_2016.pdf
    

 

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