7 CFR § 205.239 - Mammalian and non-avian livestock living conditions.

§ 205.239 Mammalian and non-avian livestock living conditions.

(a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain year-round livestock living conditions, which accommodate the wellbeing and natural behavior of animals, including:

(1) Year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight, suitable to the species, its stage of life, the climate, and the environment: Except, that, animals may be temporarily denied access to the outdoors in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. Yards, feeding pads, and feedlots may be used to provide ruminants with access to the outdoors during the non-grazing season and supplemental feeding during the grazing season. Yards, feeding pads, and feedlots shall be large enough to allow all ruminant livestock occupying the yard, feeding pad, or feedlot to feed without competition for food. Continuous total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited. Continuous total confinement of ruminants in yards, feeding pads, and feedlots is prohibited.

(2) For all ruminants, management on pasture and daily grazing throughout the grazing season(s) to meet the requirements of § 205.237 of this part, except as provided for in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of this section.

(3) Appropriate clean, dry bedding. When roughages are used as bedding, they shall have been organically produced in accordance with this part by an operation certified under this part, except as provided in § 205.236(a)(2)(iii) of this part, and, if applicable, organically handled by operations certified under this part.

(4) Shelter designed to allow for:

(i) Over a 24-hour period, sufficient space and freedom to lie down, turn around, stand up, fully stretch their limbs, and express normal patterns of behavior;

(ii) Temperature level, ventilation, and air circulation suitable to the species;

(iii) Reduction of potential for livestock injury; and

(iv) Indoor housing must have areas for bedding and resting that are sufficiently large, solidly built, and comfortable so that animals are kept clean and dry, as appropriate for the species, and free of lesions.

(5) The use of yards, feeding pads, feedlots and laneways that shall be well-drained, kept in good condition (including frequent removal of wastes), and managed to prevent runoff of wastes and contaminated waters to adjoining or nearby surface water and across property boundaries.

(6) Housing, pens, runs, equipment, and utensils shall be properly cleaned and disinfected as needed to prevent cross-infection and build-up of disease-carrying organisms.

(7) Dairy young stock may be housed in individual pens until completion of the weaning process, provided that they have enough room to turn around, lie down, stretch out when lying down, get up, rest, and groom themselves; individual animal pens shall be designed and located so that each animal can see, smell, and hear other animals.

(8) Swine must be housed in a group, except:

(i) Sows may be housed individually at farrowing and during the suckling period; gestation and farrowing crates are prohibited;

(ii) Boars; and

(iii) Swine with multiple documented instances of aggression or for recovery from an illness.

(9) Piglets shall not be kept on flat decks or in piglet cages.

(10) For swine, rooting materials must be provided, except during the farrowing and suckling period.

(11) In confined housing with stalls for mammalian livestock, enough stalls must be present to provide for the natural behaviors of the animals. A cage must not be called a stall. For group-housed swine, the number of individual feeding stalls may be less than the number of animals, as long as all animals are fed routinely over a 24-hour period. For group-housed cattle, bedded packs, compost packs, tie-stalls, free-stalls, and stanchion barns are all acceptable housing as part of an overall organic system plan.

(12) Outdoor space must be provided year-round. When the outdoor space includes soil, vegetative cover must be maintained as appropriate for the season, climate, geography, species of livestock, and stage of production.

(b) The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement or shelter for an animal because of:

(1) Inclement weather;

(2) The animal's stage of life, however, lactation is not a stage of life that would exempt ruminants from any of the mandates set forth in this part;

(3) Conditions under which the health, safety, or well-being of the animal could be jeopardized;

(4) Risk to soil or water quality;

(5) Preventive healthcare procedures or for the treatment of illness or injury (neither the various life stages nor lactation is an illness or injury);

(6) Sorting or shipping animals and livestock sales, provided that the animals shall be maintained under continuous organic management, including organic feed, throughout the extent of their allowed confinement;

(7) Breeding: Except, that, animals shall not be confined any longer than necessary for natural breeding or to perform artificial insemination. Animals may not be confined to observe estrus, and animals may not be confined after breeding to confirm pregnancy; and

(8) 4-H, National FFA Organization, and other youth projects, for no more than one week prior to a fair or other demonstration, through the event, and up to 24 hours after the animals have arrived home at the conclusion of the event. These animals must have been maintained under continuous organic management, including organic feed, during the extent of their allowed confinement for the event. Notwithstanding the requirements in paragraph (b)(6) of this section, facilities where 4-H, National FFA Organization, and other youth events are held are not required to be certified organic for the participating animals to be sold as organic, provided all other organic management practices are followed.

(c) The producer of an organic livestock operation may, in addition to the times permitted under paragraph (b) of this section, temporarily deny a ruminant animal pasture or outdoor access under the following conditions:

(1) One week at the end of a lactation for dry off (for denial of access to pasture only), three weeks prior to parturition (birthing), parturition, and up to one week after parturition;

(2) In the case of newborn dairy cattle, for up to six months, after which they must be on pasture during the grazing season and may no longer be individually housed: Except, That, any animal shall not be confined or tethered in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, and moving about freely;

(3) In the case of fiber bearing animals, for short periods for shearing; and

(4) In the case of dairy animals, for short periods daily for milking. Milking must be scheduled in a manner to ensure sufficient grazing time to provide each animal with an average of at least 30 percent dry matter intake (DMI) from grazing throughout the grazing season. Milking frequencies or duration practices cannot be used to deny dairy animals pasture.

(d) Ruminant slaughter stock, typically grain finished, shall be maintained on pasture for each day that the finishing period corresponds with the grazing season for the geographical location. Yards, feeding pads, or feedlots may be used to provide finish feeding rations. During the finishing period, ruminant slaughter stock shall be exempt from the minimum 30 percent DMI requirement from grazing. Yards, feeding pads, or feedlots used to provide finish feeding rations shall be large enough to allow all ruminant slaughter stock occupying the yard, feeding pad, or feed lot to feed without crowding and without competition for food. The finishing period shall not exceed one-fifth ( 1/5) of the animal's total life or 120 days, whichever is shorter.

(e) The producer of an organic livestock operation must manage manure in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, heavy metals, or pathogenic organisms and optimizes recycling of nutrients and must manage pastures and other outdoor access areas in a manner that does not put soil or water quality at risk.

[88 FR 75446, Nov. 6, 2023; 88 FR 86259, Dec. 13, 2023; 88 FR 89539, Dec. 28, 2023]