Factory Farms Are Not"Organic"!

Intensive confinement has always been one of the cruelest facets of modern
day factory farming. Recently, in what appeared to be a victory for humane
farming advocates, the USDA adopted standards requiring that outdoor
access be granted to animals on farms using the"organic"label. But just
a few weeks after USDA announced these rules, we've learned that the
agency is already allowing factory-farmed chickens and eggs to be labeled
"organic,"despite their constant intensive confinement. This about-face
by the USDA directly contradicts consumer expectations (who would guess
that organic animal products come from factory farms, where animals never
even see the light of day until they're loaded onto trucks, en route to
slaughter?).

The USDA's cynical move also makes a mockery of the new
organic labels, which are supposed to guarantee uniform national
standards. The outrageous argument that giant poultry corporations used
to sway USDA is that chickens will be healthier kept indoors than if
they're exposed to potential disease from wildlife outdoors. But
illnesses such as salmonella enteritis and avian influenza are rampant at
indoor facilities where animals are crammed one on top of another in
highly stressful, filthy quarters that breed disease.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Write to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, and urge her to stand up to
pressure from the factory farm industry and REALLY enforce the requirement
of outdoor access for animals sold under"organic"labels. Outdoor access
is a basic humane requirement that USDA should not let industry evade.

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman
US Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
fax: 202-720-2166
phone: 202-720-3631
email: Ann.Veneman@usda.gov

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