Obama administration withdraws farm child labor proposal after wave of internet outrage
by: Ethan A. Huff
Saturday, April 28, 2012
A proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) that would have restricted children under the age of 16 from performing certain routine chores on family farms has been officially revoked. According to The Daily Caller, which originally broke the story, a groundswell of public outcry that occurred after the story went “viral” ultimately led to the decision, which was announced late Thursday evening.
Traditionally, children of farmers have always been involved with helping out around the farm, whether it is feeding the animals, cleaning up after them, or helping to grow and harvest crops. This is why it took the public by surprise to learn that DoL, under the direction of the Obama administration, had planned to outlaw children under the age of 16 from doing this type of work.
As we reported yesterday, the DoL rules would have exempted children working on their own family farms from the new requirements. However, the entire structure of how children learn about agriculture would have changed dramatically regardless of the exemption, as the federal government intended to seize control of agriculture education programs as well as restrict who could legally participate in them.
“The decision to withdraw this rule — including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ — was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms,” says a DoL press release issued Thursday evening. “To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.”