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  European Union (EU) regulations US regulations Best organic practice

1. Are clear organic conditions defined for organic livestock to be kept and managed?

No.

‘Good’ conditions with permanent access to open-air areas for grazing are generally required. Treatment should be ethical, with no mutilation techniques.[39]

Partially.

Conditions are defined which allow for exercise, freedom of movement and reduction of stress, as appropriate to the species,[40] although no reference to mutilation techniques is reported.

Yes.

As per US regulations, but also not allowing mutilation techniques and requiring organic, safe and sustainable animal bedding and feed.

2. Must organic livestock be fed only fully organic feed?

No.

Non-organic feed materials and additives can be used minimally in animal nutrition and processing aids.[39]

No.

Feed must be organic and of agricultural produce, although some synthetic substances may be used as feed additives under certain circumstances.[41]

Yes.

Only organic feed from a local sustainable source should be allowed. Minerals and trace elements should be obtained from healthy and effective farming practices.

3. Can synthetic or GMO (genetically modified organism) drugs like steroids and antibiotics be used on organic livestock?

Yes.

Approval for use is granted on an individual basis (as no defined list exists) directly to the Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD) certification body, with withdrawal periods based on VMD guidance, then extended under EU regulations.[39]

Yes.

A defined list of 22 synthetic livestock approved treatment, including antibiotics, may be used in the event of sickness, with withdrawal periods for livestock for organic produce.[40]

Yes.

Excluding GMO and with restrictions based on a defined list of synthetic substances approved for veterinary use in livestock farming, with generous withdrawal periods based on scientific knowledge and as defined by the VDM.

39. Official Journal of the European Union (2007), Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, Article 14. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:189:0001:0023:EN:PDF
40. US Government Publishing Office, Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, Title 7: Agriculture, Part 205: National Organic Program, §205.238. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=a5b155ba6da8c49616dcd44de509f65d&mc=true&n=pt7.3.205&r=PART&ty=HTML
41. US Government Publishing Office, Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, Title 7: Agriculture, Part 205: National Organic Program, §205.237. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=a5b155ba6da8c49616dcd44de509f65d&mc=true&n=pt7.3.205&r=PART&ty=HTML