WASHINGTON – The US District Court for the District of Columbia agreed to hear the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) case against the US Dept. of Agriculture’s decision to withdraw standards for organic livestock.

In April, OTA and co-plaintiffs American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) challenged the USDA’s view that the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) does not give the National Organic Program the authority to regulate animal care, welfare or production standards. The groups also disagreed with the agency’s conclusion that the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule exceeded the USDA’s statutory authority and would have negatively impacted voluntary participation in the National Organic Program.

“We are delighted the court has agreed to hold a hearing despite the USDA's objections. Our case is moving forward,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the OTA. “We are also encouraged that the court will hear our challenge to the entire, year-long pattern of unlawful conduct by USDA. The Organic Trade Association believes that beginning with the first delay that was undertaken without an opportunity for public notice and comment shortly after the current administration took office, until the final withdrawal of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule in March 2018, that USDA has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that can only be corrected by a federal court.”