Livestock Over Labor: Prioritization of Non-Human Animals in the National Organic Program




Adj Assistant Professor; Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies

Project Summary

Thanks to the Rosemary D. Mazzatenta Award I received from the Association of Alumnae, I was able to spend a portion of my summer conducting research for my HSOC senior thesis in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. My project, entitled “Livestock over Labor: Prioritization of Non-Human Animals in the National Organic Program,” traces the fascinating overlap between the animal welfare movement and the farm workers rights movement, and explores the development of the National Organic Program, and why it does not include any stipulations on human working conditions, despite advocacy from farm labor groups. These funds provided me with the ability to travel to Washington, spend time in the archives, and purchase the materials I needed to efficiently scan and analyze the documents I found in the archives. They also allowed me to dedicate more time to research while working part time over the summer.

While my thesis is still a work in progress, the documents that I compiled and the background research I was able to complete over the summer has proven essential in my research process. I have found a handful of primary documents, including letters to the National Organic Standards Board, the body which developed and maintains the National Organic Program, from activist groups. These primary documents will be part of the foundation for my final project. I look forward to using the data I collected with the help of this award in my continued research, and using the skills I gained through this research project in my future academic endeavors.