Making America great again is a war fought on many fronts, including chicken coops: The Trump administration is reversing an Obama-era rule that would, among other things, specify how much space organic chickens should have to live. The Organic Livestock And Poultry Practices Final Rule was announced on Obama’s last day in office—Jan. 19 2017—so the Trump administration hit pause on it the next day after the inauguration under its “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.”
Said review has taken place, and Trump’s USDA has—shockingly—tossed the Final Rule. It would have forced producers of organic chicken to give the birds extra space inside and outside and ensure that 50 percent of their outdoor space has vegetation. The previous rule simply stated that the birds need to have access to outdoor space, which some factory farms got around by building enclosed porches, according to NPR. Surprisingly, organic farmers mostly favored the new regulation to help smaller farms compete with factory operations, who would now be forced to give their chickens more space.
But the withdrawal documents claim most producers of organic chicken are small businesses, with only four factory farms, and that those businesses would be hurt the most by the additional costs of the new regulations, even though Final Rule gave them five years to implement the changes. The docs also claim the new rules exceed the USDA’s authority.