Our Welfare Promise

All of our farmers must meet strict welfare standards, from birth to slaughter, in order to guarantee that our animals are treated as they should be for their entire lives. To ensure our standards get the results we want, we use species-specific, reliable, and valid outcome-indicators to evaluate our farms. By using animal-, input-, and practice-based standards that are observable and measurable we can make certain our animals are raised the right way whenever we set foot on our farms.

 

 Freedom from Hunger and Thirst

—by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor—

We Require: 

  • Diets appropriate for age and climate that support proper nutrition and health
  • Non-competitive feeding strategies or free access to feed
  • Free and continuous access to clean, fresh water
  • Maintenance of healthy body condition scores
  • No antibiotics used for growth promotion or feed efficiency
  • No added growth hormones or promoters
  • No animal by-products in feed
  • Short transport times with minimized periods of food and water withdrawal
  • Written nutrition and feeding plans
  • Written emergency supplementary feeding plans

 

Freedom from Discomfort

—by providing an environment with appropriate shelter, comfort, and climate—

We Require: 

  • Pasture or outdoor access for all animals for at least 2/3 rds of their lives
  • Natural light and daylight cycles
  • Animals and their environment are clean and hygienic
  • Sufficient air quality to prevent illness or discomfort
  • Adequate space per animal on farms and in transport to prevent overcrowding
  • Slip-resistant, clean, dry, and solid flooring in all non-pasture areas
  • Clean, dry bedding of sufficient quality and quantity for comfort and nesting
  • Protection from thermal stress and adverse temperature and humidity levels
  • Sufficient natural or built shelter to protect from adverse or extreme weather
  • All equipment and facilities to be maintained, repaired, and functional

 

Freedom from Pain, Injury, and Disease

—by prevention, rapid diagnosis, and treatment—

We Require: 

  • Zero tolerance for animal abuse
  • Elimination of unnecessary painful procedures
  • Careful and competent handling to avoid slipping and injury
  • No electric prod use except when animal or human safety is in jeopardy
  • No breeds that compromise welfare through excessive growth or production
  • Immediate treatment of injured, sick, lame, or otherwise suffering animals
  • Antibiotics only for the treatment of illness or as prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Euthanasia of non-recoverable animals using only AVMA approved methods
  • No transport of sick, injured, or downed animals for auction or slaughter
  • Best practices for animal procedures to minimize pain and suffering
  • Species- and size-appropriate restraint devices and handling facilities
  • Written health plans and record-keeping of animal-based indicators
  • Established veterinarian-client-patient relationship

 

Freedom to Express Normal Behavior

—by providing sufficient space, facilities, and company of other animals—

We Require: 

  • Prohibited use of closed confined housing, unless temporarily required
  • Prevention or remedy of abnormal behavior, bullying, or aggression
  • No animals are isolated or separated, unless medically required
  • Space sufficient for normal movement, behavior, and socialization
  • Appropriate herd or house grouping by age, size, and life stage
  • Appropriate housing and nesting materials for breeding animals
  • Maintenance of stable social groups
  • Environmental enrichment sufficient for engagement in normal behavior

 

Freedom from Fear and Distress

—by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering—

We Require: 

  • Zero tolerance for animal mistreatment or cruelty
  • Calm, low-stress handling of animals at all times
  • Elimination of excessive and unexpected noise
  • No passageways or facilities that impede animal movement
  • Species-specific and low-stress handling, loading, and transport facilities
  • Diffuse and uniform lighting in handling, loading, and transport areas
  • Low-stress weaning methods and weaning ages closer to natural separation
  • Protection from pests and predators
  • All slaughter plants must meet American Meat Institute (AMI) standards
  • Effective stunning before shackling and slaughter
  • On-farm welfare education and training