5-Step Animal Welfare Rating
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 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating means 100+ standards for beef, pork, chicken, lamb and turkey (except kosher turkey) in our meat department. The 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 rating system works for you. All of the beef, chicken, turkey and pork in our fresh meat case is rated. You’ll find a different selection in each store, but if it doesn’t meet Step 1, you won’t see it because we won’t sell it. Remember: To reach even Step 1, 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 Step-rated items. From Step 1 to Step 5+, each step has its own requirements that must be met before authorized, independent certifiers can assign a Step rating to the farm or ranch.


Animal centered, entire life on same farm


Animal centered, no physical alterations


Pasture centered


Enhanced outdoor access


Enriched environment


No cages, no crates, no crowding

Whole Foods Market requires at least a Step-1 rating for Step-rated species*