by Danielle J. Ufer, USDA
In the United States, animal welfare standards are among the many considerations facing producers. Until recently, relatively few Federal policies addressed standards of treatment for farm animals, allowing each industry to largely define those standards.
Since 2002, 14 U.S States have passed policies addressing practices that can affect farm animal welfare, with the most common policies aimed at the use of animal confinement in pork, veal, and egg production.
Moreover, some States ban sales of animal products imported from operations in other States that do not follow the animal welfare requirements. But even with a growing geographic reach, these policies cover a relatively small proportion of U.S. animal production.
*Farm animal welfare policies covering production practices before slaughter are in place in 14 States, with policies largely focused on confinement practices. Requirements for alternative methods of animal production are expected to come at a cost.
*In-State animal operations targeted by these bans account for a relatively small proportion of total U.S. production.
*Some laws also restrict the sale of animal products originating from any noncompliant operation, including from States where such bans are not in place. This can create a bleed-over effect in which out-of-State producers must adopt similar animal welfare practices to keep their market access.
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