Components of Animal Welfare - Global Animal Partnership

Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program was developed with the animal’s welfare as the primary focus. But what does farm animal welfare mean?

We define animal welfare as 3 overlapping components that together with good management and genetics, contribute to good farm animal welfare:

  • Health & Productivity – raising animals so that they’re healthy and productive with good quality feed and water, shelter, and free from disease, illness and injury (but treating any animals that get sick).
  • Natural Living – raising animals in environments that allow them to express their natural behaviors effectively – both indoors and outdoors
  • Emotional Well Being – raising animals in environments that provide them the ability to be inquisitive, happy and playful and minimize boredom, frustration, fear, stress and pain, as much as possible.

By defining animal welfare, this helps us to identify and improve farming and ranching systems and practices. We then translate these systems into standards for each species under our GAP 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating program.

The 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating Labels

Once a third-party audit has been conducted and a GAP Step® rating has been assigned, the appropriate GAP label is displayed on certified meat and other products. When you see the GAP label, you can feel confident that the animals have been raised following comprehensive standards focused on their care and welfare.

GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 1
GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 2
GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 3
GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 4
GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 5
GAP Animal Welfare Rating Labels: Step 5+

The Standards Development Process

GAP has a rigorous process for setting standards that involves lots of input along the way.

Standards Development - 1 - Research

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

Scientists, farmers and certifiers gather information from experience, peer-reviewed research, geographic variables, and field tests to begin to create a draft of species-specific standards.

Standards Development - 2 - Review

REVIEW

Each set of species-specific animal welfare standards is iteratively reviewed by multiple professionals and may go through the review process multiple times.

Standards Development - 3 - Collaboration

COLLABORATION

An initial draft is posted for public review, comments and feedback. This step opens dialog and provides us with ideas and perspectives that may have been missed.

Standards Development - 4 - Revision

REVISION

A revised draft is authored and reviewed to ensure all concerns have been acknowledged. Each set of animal welfare standards may be revised for multiple periods before a final draft ready to test on-farm.

Standards Process: Field Test On-Farm

FIELD TEST
ON-FARM

Once the revised draft is complete, GAP field-tests the new standard with multiple suppliers to gather more data. After this trial run is complete, the standards are either revised based on findings, or submitted to the GAP Board for final approval.

Standards Development - 5 - Approval

APPROVAL

Once approved by the GAP Board, standards are published for use in the GAP 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating Program.

5-Step® Animal Welfare Standards

Our multi-step standards are truly unique. Each species-specific standards reflects a thorough, collaborative and transparent process, which blends the best of scientific and practical knowledge currently available. By involving input from farmers, ranchers, scientists, veterinarians, certifiers, industry experts, advocates and food companies, our standards reflect our mission of continuous improvement in animal agriculture, and our commitment to supporting our partners through the process, Step-by-Step.

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Beef

Beef

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Chicken

Broiler Chickens

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Turkey

Turkey

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Sheep/Lambs

Sheep

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Pork

Pigs

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Goat

Goats

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Bison

Bison

Global Animal Partnership: Animal Standards - Egg Laying Hens

Laying Hens

Higher Welfare Chicken Initiative Icon

Did you know?

GAP is replacing 100% of chicken breeds that result in poor welfare outcomes by 2024 with breeds meeting specified welfare outcomes within its 5-Step® Rating Program. With this change, we can affect the lives of almost 300 million chickens annually.