I spoke with Kestrel Burcham, Policy Director at The Cornucopia Institute, about animal welfare and what is happening with the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) ruling which is coming up for approval by the USDA. The poultry industry and animal welfare standards has been an area that is in great need of being revised! The current standards for birds is lacking some of the basic provisions for an industry that is huge! The poultry business is big business with billions of products sold in this country. This ruling is not only important for the welfare of these animals but for the small independent farmers that are being put out of business by Big Ag.
Kestrel shared what the OLPS ruling would mean and how it would affect farmers and consumers, and the overall welfare of the poultry and eggs that are sold in this country. We discussed the highly confusing labels that can be so misleading that are used on eggs in particular and cleared up what some of those labels really mean. What does pasture raised really mean? Is there a pretty picture of a nice barn and pasture with birds running freely? That is what the industry wants you to think–a marketing tactic for sure to hid the real truth. Its very confusing and Big Ag industry likes it this way. There was also a wonderful discussion on how you, as a consumer, can affect those standards and what you can do to have your voice heard. Big Ag has many marketing tactics that the public is unaware of and Kestrel offered important information on what it all means and how you can be a more responsible consumer and know what you are purchasing.
The labeling issue can be extremely confusing and deceptive. Kestrel gave us a deeper understanding of what to look for and how to be more discerning with your purchases. The labeling confusion is not only happening in the poultry industry but in food labeling in general. We discussed the importance of knowing what some of those labels, including third party labeling, like Certified Humanly Raised, really means. Every consumer needs to be aware of these marketing practices and to demand that the standards are raised and more transparent to protect not only animal health and welfare but human health.
The Cornucopia Institute engages in educational activities supporting these principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through their research and investigations, the Cornucopia Institute publishes scorecards on various products like poultry, eggs, beef, yogurt and other consumer products which is a guide to understanding the dizzying spectrum of these products and practices and to assist you as a consumer. Their Scorecards are a powerful tool to help you make wise choices for your health, animal welfare, and the environment. They have done their research!
Listen to this important interview below to learn more and then share this with others.