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Bridging the GAP in Animal Welfare

November 08, 2016

Bridging the GAP in Animal WelfareOne thing that makes Joyce Farms an industry leader in the area of animal welfare is our adherence to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating programs for both chicken and beef. The GAP 5-Step program is a higher standard than almost any other animal welfare rating, and one we choose to follow because we feel it’s the right choice for our birds, our cattle – and our customers.

Founded in 2008, Global Animal Partnership (GAP) is an organization that brings together farmers, scientists, ranchers, retailers, and advocates who want to improve the welfare of animals in agriculture. Originally developed and sponsored by Whole Foods, today GAP is an independent nonprofit that partners with a number of US grocers. Whole Foods is still a major sponsor, and insists that all the fresh beef, pork, chicken and turkey in their store are raised to at least GAP Step 1 standards. To achieve even that, farmers and ranchers must meet more than 100 animal-welfare requirements. Each step above Step 1 requires more.

At Joyce Farms, we’re proud to say that we go well beyond that Step 1 minimum. All of our Poulet Rouge Fermier chickens hold a GAP Step 4 animal welfare rating. The birds are raised in houses offering natural light, natural ventilation, enrichments, 400% more space than conventional birds, and access to additional space in a pasture. Our grass-fed Aberdeen Angus cattle are also GAP Step 4, raised on farms that routinely pass the strictest audits for humane handling.

How does the GAP 5-Step program compare to other ways of determining how an animal is raised? According to a ranking by The Wall Street Journal, a label indicating an animal was raised using GAP 5-Step standards is a much better way to judge animal welfare than either of the more common “American Humane Certified” or “USDA Organic” labels. And the experts at humaneitarian.org put it even more bluntly: “Generally speaking, if you want chicken, pork, or beef raised in a pasture-centered way, look for GAP products labeled Step 4 or Step 5.”

In other words, look for Joyce Farms.

More information:

5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards for Chickens Raised for Meat
GAP 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards for Beef Cattle