The humane treatment of animals is a fundamental principle of organic production. It is widely known that organic standards in dairy farming prohibit the use of antibiotics and/or growth hormones, that cows must have regular access to pasture and the outdoors (weather permitting), and that cows may not be fed Genetically Modified (GE) feeds.
The National Organic Program (NOP) also has regulations in regard to animal welfare, with clearly defined rules for livestock health-care practices (§205.238) and living conditions for animals (§205.239). Every certified organic dairy farm has an Organic Systems Plan, in which animal-welfare regulations are addressed.
Over decades, organic certification organizations developed standards of animal well-being and sustainable land practices based on farmers’ expertise. Organic certifiers’ standards informed the development of NOP standards.
Certified organic animal welfare standards address areas including feed rations, appropriate housing, pasture conditions and sanitation practices for animals; conditions which allow for freedom of movement and reduction of stress, prevention of disease, and administration of approved medications under organic standards.
In addition to the approved regulations, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) requested the creation of a comprehensive animal welfare program by its Livestock Committee, which has members from different stakeholder groups such as farmers, environmentalists, retailers and consumer groups. Over more than a decade, the Livestock Committee has contributed recommendations, in areas such as animal density, access to outdoors, minimum space requirements for animals and humane handling practices.
At Straus Family Creamery, organic integrity is at the core of our business model and our relationships with family farms. We buy milk from certified organic family-owned farms, where organic standards are practiced sustainably and with integrity. We do this because quality is very important to us and quality does not refer only to our products, but also to the quality and sustainability of life of people, animals and the earth.