While the outgoing administration dumped a last-minute organic animal welfare rule on agriculture, Congress seems poised to block the new regulation, according to Politico. Bipartisan leadership from both the House and Senate agriculture committees condemned the rule following its announcement by the Department of Agriculture. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service administrator said the new standards “allow producers to compete on a level playing field.” However, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said the costs of complying with requirements that livestock and poultry have outdoor access could put some producers out of business.” The Kansas Republican promised to work with USDA under the new administration to “ease this over-regulation.” Ranking Democrat from the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow expressed disappointment in the rule, saying USDA “missed an opportunity” to set standards that did not risk unintended consequences. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway blasted the outdoor access requirements under the rule. The Texas Republican linked the requirement to susceptibility to highly pathogenic avian influenza, saying the rule was “particularly concerning” given the detection of the virus in a wild duck in Montana earlier this month.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.