Trump Administration Rules “Organic” Hens May Be Treated As Badly As Conventionally-Raised Hens

The Washington Post reported on December 15, 2017 that the Trump Administration has reversed a U.S. Department of Agriculture policy requiring that hens deemed “organic” must be given more space and light than standardly-raised hens receive, as well as some degree of outdoor access. USDA vetoed a proposed rule that would have prohibited large-scale “organic” egg producers, like Eggland’s Best, from keeping 180,000 hens in a facility crammed with three hens per square foot, as reported by The Post last July. The proposed rule would have required “organic” producers “to give hens at least a square foot of space inside as well as access to the outdoors.”

According to The Post, “Advocates for the rule blamed the outsize influence of large ‘factory farms’ for the USDA’s decision to withdraw it. Those farms, they argue, use the ‘USDA Organic’ label to fetch higher prices for their products, without conforming to consumer expectations for organic practices.”

England's BestDrawing of future chicken slaughter buildings.
Eggland’s Best, one of the largest “organic” egg operations in the United States, keeps 1.6 million hens and continues to grow. Photo by The Cornucopia Institute