5-Step Animal Welfare Certification
Celebrating Global Animal Partnership's 10-year anniversary and commitment to farm animal welfare.

5-Step Animal Welfare Rating

Improving the lives of farm animals, step-by-step.

At Whole Foods Market, Global Animal Partnership's Animal Welfare Certified means 100+ standards for beef, pork, chicken, lamb and turkey (except kosher turkey) in our meat department. This 5-step system not only gives you the knowledge to make informed food choices, it encourages and rewards farmers and ranchers to improve their welfare practices. So whether you’re looking for a great steak or you want to know where your roasting chicken comes from, this third-party certification system works for you. All of the beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and turkey (except kosher turkey) in our fresh meat case is certified. You’ll find a different selection in each store, but if it doesn’t meet base certification, you won’t see it because we won’t sell it. Remember: To reach even Base Certification, farms and ranches must meet more than 100 requirements!

Committed to transparent farming and ranching practices.

Founded in 2008, Global Animal Partnership is a non-profit organization made up of farmers, scientists, retailers, manufacturers and animal advocates, all collaborating with a common purpose: improving farm animal welfare. For more detailed information and species-specific requirements for each step, visit the Global Animal Partnership websiteexternal site. When you’re shopping our meat department, all meat products must also follow our own basic animal welfare standards.

The steps.

Below are the descriptions you’ll find on Animal Welfare Certified items. From Base Certification to Step 5+, each step has its own requirements that must be met before authorized, independent certifiers can assign a level of certification to the farm or ranch.

Base Level: 100+ standards; no cages, crates or crowding

Enrichments provided to encourage natural behaviors


Access to outdoors with environmental enrichments

Raised on pasture; no feedlots

Raised on pasture; no physical alterations


Entire life on same farm