Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 10:08 AM
Organic livestock producers have a couple of new tools available to them.
Effective today, the National Organic Program has approved the use of two parasiticides as emergency treatment for dairy and breeder stock.
The synthetic drugs -- fenbendazole and moxidectin -- can be used when approved management has failed to prevent parasite infestation.
* Milk and milk products from a treated animal cannot be labeled as organic for 90 days after treatment.
* The parasiticides are not allowed for organic slaughter stock.
The NOP action puts into place recommendations made by the National Organic Standards Board, an independent federal advisory committee of four organic producers, two handlers, three environmentalists, three consumer representatives, a certifier, a retailer and a scientist.
Miles McEvoy, director of the NOP, said the approval acknowledges the real-life conditions of livestock operations where farmers must relieve their animals' pain and suffering.
"The rule clearly reflects the National Organic Standards Board's position that these parasiticides are options to be used sparingly as part of an integrated system of animal health care," he said.
USDA organic regulations prohibit the routine use of synthetic parasiticides. Organic livestock producers are responsible for managing parasites through practices specified in their organic system plans, including selection of disease-resistant breeds, rotational grazing and culling of susceptible animals.
The full text of the rule and a synopsis of public comments are available at www.regulations.gov under keyword "AMS-NOP-10-0078; NOP-09-03FR."
-- Steve Brown