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Organic farmers call on USDA to define outdoor rules

Organic farmers call on USDA to define outdoor rules

A debate rages among organic devotees about how livestock should be raised. Some insist that organic means small farms, open space and fresh air. They want the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create new rules defining the conditions in which organic hens should be kept.

From Bloomberg:

When the doors to the hen house open, the 14,000 chickens on Edwin Blosser's organic egg farm make a mad dash for the pasture outside, where they can scratch and peck in the dirt.

"It's just like an ocean of birds going out the doors — zoom!" Blosser said.

Greg Herbruck says his organic laying hens also love the outdoors — but they spend their time in the fresh air on concrete patios and in other enclosures.

The two farmers — both organic, both concerned about the well-being of their birds — exemplify a debate raging among organic devotees about how livestock should be raised. Some insist that organic means small farms, open space and fresh air. They want the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create new rules defining the conditions in which organic hens should be kept.

USDA asked to decide: Does organic mean outdoor?

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