USDA proposes stricter animal welfare rules for organic meat

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Agriculture Department is proposing stricter animal welfare standards for organic chicken and meat.

USDA says the rules are intended to better match company practices with consumer expectations. The multibillion-dollar organic market continues to grow rapidly each year.

The rules would ensure that all livestock and poultry have enough space to lie down, turn around, stand up and fully stretch their limbs. Beaks couldn't be removed and tails couldn't be cut. Poultry houses would have to have fresh air and ventilation.

The broadest changes would cover outdoor access for poultry, suggesting standards for how densely poultry can be stocked and minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements.

The retail market for organic products is valued at almost $40 billion in the United States.