Current NOSB Issues:
Animal Welfare - Stocking Density (April 2011 meeting)
According to the NOSB, animal welfare is a basic principle of organic production. Its Livestock Committee considers that a focus on animal welfare warrants appropriate and effective regulation. Good animal welfare requires that animals be able to perform species specific behaviors and enjoy as natural and normal a life as possible. The NOSB believes that imprecise language in organic regulations had created unintended production practices which could allow the welfare of some animals to be compromised.
The recommendation (below) provides detailed information on indoor and outdoor stocking density by livestock type. Animals raised without enough space are more susceptible to disease and prone to other health issues. Advocates say that factory-style farm practices create an unfari advantage and should not banned in organic agriculture. In September 2010, the Cornucopia Institute released its report Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture highlighting this issue. Individuals with expertise in livestock stocking density are encouraged to weigh in.
Read the NOSB Livestock Committee's Animal Welfare - Stocking Density Discussion Document (September 9, 2010)