The Organic Trade Association wants its day in court. On March 7, the association requested that oral arguments be heard on its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the Department’s failure to put into effect new organic livestock standards. The request comes as the case is gaining significant momentum and as more organic businesses and stakeholders take action and speak out in support of the lawsuit.
Since the filing of the lawsuit, a host of organic stakeholders representing thousands of organic farming families, organic certifiers and organic policymakers – along with leading animal welfare and retail groups speaking out for millions of consumers — have joined the Organic Trade Association’s challenge.
“We are ready to go. We want to advance this issue, and we want the court to hear our case,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “We’ve gone through all the back and forth with USDA in our court filings, and now it’s time to present the organic sector’s case to the judge in oral arguments. USDA has requested that this case be dismissed, but this issue won’t go away. In fact, it is only picking up steam with key organic stakeholders joining us in our efforts.”
The Organic Trade Association last September filed a lawsuit against USDA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia over the Department’s failure to put into effect the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) regulation. The regulation had been developed and fully vetted for more than a decade by the organic sector, the National Organic Standards Board and USDA’s National Organic Program. Since the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule was published on Jan. 19, 2017, the government has attempted five times to delay the implementation of the rule, either through the formal rulemaking process or through its attempt to dismiss the suit.