Obama administration just gave a little breathing room to organic livestock. - Grist

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chicken and the reg

Obama administration just gave a little breathing room to organic livestock.

The new rule says that organic farmers can’t cut off the tails of livestock, or clip the beaks on chickens. It says that organic livestock have to have room to move freely, and boosts chickens’ outdoor space, providing “about two square feet per egg-laying hen, or about an acre for a flock of 20,000,” writes Dan Charles at NPR.

Organic evangelists say this doesn’t go far enough, while the big farmers groups, like the National Pork Producers Council, say it goes too far. The middle of the road Organic Trade Association applauded the rule, as did animal welfare groups like the Humane Society.

But the real question is how do the animals themselves feel about this? When I reached a hen for comment, she had mixed feelings. While she supported measures that would keep farmers from cutting off her beak, she opposed measures that would keep farmers from cutting off the beaks of her compatriots. “Those things hurt,” she said. When I pointed out that Republicans vow to fight new regulations, she sighed and mumbled something about needing to take a nice, long dust bath.