While the Global Animal Partnership Step 1 standards offer some improvements for farm animal living conditions over the industry norm, for the most part they reflect the industry norm. For pigs and chickens, Step 1 standards allow confining pigs and chickens indoors, without enrichment to allow them to engage in natural behaviors, with no requirements for natural light and access to the outdoors. For beef cattle, Step 1 reflects the industry norm of removing the animals from pasture for “finishing” (feeding grain) in a feedlot. The standards do address some important animal welfare aspects that go above the industry norm for how farm animals are raised. The label is verified.
Is the label verified?
Is the meaning of the label consistent?
Are the label standards publicly available?
Is information about the organization publicly available?
Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?
This label can be found on: Beef, chicken, pork, turkey, sheep, goat, bison
ORGANIZATION: Global Animal Partnership
What this label means
The label means that the animals were raised on farms that were verified to meet the farm animal welfare standards of Global Animal Partnership, a non-profit organization that says it “promotes and facilitates continuous improvement in animal agriculture, encourages animal welfare friendly farming practices, and informs consumers about the animal farming systems they choose to support.”
The Global Animal Partnership program uses six tiers, or steps, that each represent a different set of standards for how animals are raised on the farm. The step level that is achieved is indicated on the label. Step 1 is the lowest rating and Step 5+ is the highest rating. Higher step levels signify that higher standards of animal welfare were met.
For Step 1, the claim on the label is “no cages, no crates, no crowding.”
In our analysis, we found that Step 1 standards accommodate farms that confine pigs and chickens indoors and do not provide materials to allow the animals to engage in natural behaviors. The indoor space requirements only slightly exceed the industry norm. For beef, Step 1 reflects the industry norm of raising beef cattle on range or pasture for the first part of the animal’s life and then on a feedlot for the last portion of the animal’s life.
There are some benefits to Step 1 certification; for example, the standards for all step levels set limits on indoor ammonia levels, prohibit routine drug use, prohibit animal waste products in feed, and prohibit routine tail docking of pigs.
Below, we take a closer look at some of the requirements in the standards, for some of the species that can be certified (chicken, pork and beef).
Note that this summary does not cover all the requirements in the standards; to read the standards in their entirety, click on the link to the standards (above).
A closer look at the standards for broilers (chicken)
A closer look at the standards for pigs (pork)
A closer look at the standards for cattle (beef)