USDA Announces Stricter Animal Welfare Rules for Eggs, Meat

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Organic meat and egg producers will have to abide by stricter animal welfare standards under a new rule announced by the Agriculture Department.

The rule announced Wednesday is a victory for animal rights groups two days before President Barack Obama leaves office. The regulations will ensure that organically grown livestock have enough space to lie down, turn around, stand up and fully stretch their limbs. Poultry will have enough room to move freely and spread their wings. Beaks can’t be removed and cattle tails can’t be cut. Living conditions will have to include fresh air, proper ventilation and direct sunlight.

USDA’s Elanor Starmer says the rules are designed to help organic producers meet consumer expectations and ensure the integrity of the USDA organic seal as the industry has grown rapidly.