organic poultry must be free range sign now

We, consumers who are interested in buying organic meat that is raised in environmentally responsible manner that offers humane treatment of animals, are opposed to confinement production of poultry as being allowed under organic standards. We demand free range for poultry labelled and marketed as organic certified, and we prefer to buy pasture raised poultry because we see it as the best environmental stewardship and most closely in line with natural poultry behavior patterns.
See the following action alert for background information:
Urgent Action Needed

Help Preserve the Integrity of the National Organic Standards

The National Organic Standards Board Livestock Committee is in the process of writing the national standards for organic poultry. Currently, there is no nationwide standard, although most organic chicken is produced using methods that are widely recognized as organic; birds are raised in an environmentally sustainable manner, without the use of antibiotics, and are pastured on green grass and insectstheir natural diet.

With the explosion of the organic foods market, new national standards are needed to ensure consumer protection, but this very process may threaten the integrity of the current standards. Industrialized mega poultry corporations have hijacked the organic poultry industry and are intensively lobbying the National Organic Standards Board to allow their industrialized factories to be certified as organic. In fact, these industrial poultry producers even have a representative on the livestock committee at the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which does not have a single pastured poultry farmer on board.

Please contact the NOSB Livestock Committee and tell them that factory-raised poultry is not acceptable as an organic product. Organic poultry must be raised in a humane, free-range environment.

Organic agriculture is a hope for improving our environment and the treatment of animals, so please Act Now! The deadline for comments is May 6th, 2002.

How to comment:
You can call, fax, email or send written comments to NOSB Livestock Committee at
Richard Mathews
Program Manager
USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP
Room 4008-South Building
1400 and Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-0020
Telephone: (202) 720-3252
Fax: (202) 205-7808
Email: [email protected]

Contact your representatives in Congress and tell them to support consumer interest and urge USDA Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman to tighten organic standards by requiring pasturing for poultry. Call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121.



Additional information and talking points

Pasturing is humane and environmentally superior
Poultrys natural behavior patterns are to graze live plants and hunt for bugs. When animals are low density and on pasture, there is less soil erosion, less fossil fuel spent on manure management, and less risk to the water supply from massive manure storage spills.

Pastured poultry is a better product
The flavor of the meat from pastured animals is very different and, some argue, more delicious and nutritious. Not surprisingly, no academic studies have been done on this, as corporations now fund academic studies and it is not in their interest to prove a benefit to pastured poultry because it doesnt fit in with their industrialization of agriculture.

Pasture-ized organic poultry supports the small farmer
Most organic family farms raise poultry the old fashioned way, on pasture. This is the most environmentally friendly as the ultra low density of livestock distributes manure safely while the animal grazes and follows its natural behavior patterns of eating live greens and catching bugs. In contrast, the corporate organic meat you are probably buying at the grocery store is produced on concrete floors and high-density feedlots where chickens vainly pick at thousands of birds manure. Industrialized factory farms, organic or not, threaten small farmers and rural communities by taking away local control, creating too much manure, using unfair labor practices, diminishing the quality of life for the animals.

Factory-raised organic meat will threaten the existence of small-scale organic farmers
Tyson and its brethren will stage a predatory price war and win against small producers and co-ops that market pastured organic poultry. 96\% of sales occur in grocery chains and those grocery buyers only care to buy the cheapest organic meat. As long as it is labeled as organic, grocery buyers dont care to know about the practices of the factories that produced the meat. This corporate commodification of organic meat will lead to organic production in developing countries, where labor can be exploited and fragile ecosystems irreparably degraded. Meanwhile, back in the USA, local and safe food systems will be systematically dismantled and family farms will go bankrupt. This move across borders and overseas will also mean bad news for consumers, who can only choose among foods that have traveled thousands of miles before reaching our dinner plates, thus greatly increasing the chance of contamination and even agro-terrorism.

You can do more to protect organic poultry standards
In addition to contacting members of the NOSB before the important vote on May 6, you can talk to the meat managers at your grocery store and restaurants. Tell them you want to buy pastured organic poultry that is raised in the USA by independent small family farmers. Research the owners of the brands of organic foods that you buy. To see how your brand of organic meat compares with others in stewardship practices, see the consumer reference chart at www.wholesomeharvest.com.

If you are interested in learning more about factory farming, please visit www.factoryfarm.org.

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Kellie MayerBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
USDA

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