5 Step Program – Global Animal Partnership


Whole Foods, 5 Step Program

Global Animal Partnership

The 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program

I rarely go to Whole Foods Market.  I haven’t lived near one, nor worked near one and thus never bother to go.  However, things are changing over the next few months and I will soon have access to a Whole Foods Market so I thought it worth looking into.  I was quite pleased to find that Whole Foods has partnered with Global Animal Partnership (GAP) to certify Whole Food’s producer’s practices according to their 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program.

First off, props to Whole Foods.  After looking through the 5-Step Program it seems to be an simple and effective means of getting across to the consumer how the animals that they are consuming are treated and cared for.  I look forward to purchasing some foodstuffs from them once I have better access.

So on the actual 5 Step plan itself, it seems that once in Whole Foods different foodstuffs will have different labels specifying whether the product is a Step 1, Step 2, … Step 5+ with Step 5+ being the max level of care you can have.  In looking at GAP’s website here is a table below that shows how many operations they have for each step; which will probably match the likely hood of finding that particular step in Whole Foods.  Meaning, it may be hard to find Step 5 or 5+ but easy to find Steps 3 and 4 for most animals.

From: Global Animal Partnership; click for source.

Also, check out this short video produced by the Global Animal Partnership.  They go through all the steps:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv4bzoEG8Kc

Standards:

  • Step 1:  No Cages, Crating or Crowding
    • Chickens: Be able to spread their wings and preen without touching other birds
    • Pigs: No more than 25% of floor is slatted; bedding required; no Tethers or gestation stalls
    • Beef Cattle: 50% Vegetative cover on range/pasture; 2/3min life on pasture
  • Step 2:  Enriched Environment
    • Chickens: Cover or Blinds in Housing to isolate themselves
    • Pigs: Changed limits on allowed lameness, weaning age, and max transport time
    • Beef Cattle:  Objects must be provided for grooming/scratching (natural behavior)
  • Step 3:  Enhanced Outdoor Access
    • Chickens: Shade required; continuous outdoor access; indoor foraging area during harsh seasons
    • Pigs: Continuous outdoor access; enrichments required that encourage foraging.
    • Beef Cattle: No step 3 for Beef Cattle
  • Step 4:  Pasture Centered
    • Chickens:  Access to 50% vegetative cover pasture
    • Pigs: Access to 25% vegetative pasture during allowable seasons; access to wallows
    • Beef Cattle: 3/4min life on pasture;
  • Step 5:  Animal Centered, no Physical Alterations
    • Chickens: 75% vegetative pasture; birds must be able to perch
    • Pigs: 50% vegetative pasture; pigs remain with litter mates for entire life
    • Beef Cattle: 75% vegetative pasture; no branding/ear notching
  • Step 5+: Lives Entire Life on Same Farm
    • Chickens: Birds must be bred, hatched and raised on the same farm.
    • Pigs: On-farm or local slaughter
    • Beef Cattle: On-farm or local slaughter

Sources:

  1. Whole Foods Market – 5 Step Animal Welfare Rating Program Brochure (PDF)
  2. Global Animal PartnershipThe 5-Step Program
  3. Food Link5 Step Plan: Veganism, marketing or education?
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