Animal Welfare Approved has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare and environmental sustainability currently in use by any U.S. farm program. Our standards have been developed in collaboration with scientists, veterinarians, researchers and farmers across the globe to maximize practicable, high-welfare farm management with the environment in mind. We’re one of only two labels in the U.S. that require audited, high-welfare slaughter practices, and is the only label that requires pasture access for all animals.
Covering all major farmed livestock and poultry, our standards are proven to be achievable in the vast majority of farm situations, and we update them regularly to incorporate new research or to reflect “best practice.” The basic premise of all our standards is that animals must be able to behave naturally and be in a state of physical and psychological well-being, and that the way we raise our animals, the nutritional quality of the food they produce, and the impact of the farming system on the environment are all intrinsically linked.
Animal Welfare Approved
- requires animals to be raised on pasture or range
- prohibits dual production
- awards approval only to family farmers
- charges no fees to participating farmers
- incorporates the most comprehensive standards for high welfare farming
To accomplish the goals of the Animal Welfare Approved program, all standards address every aspect of each species' lifecycle needs from birth to death. Animal Welfare Approved works diligently to maintain a farm's ability to be economically viable and the standards have been proven to be achievable by the vast majority of farm situations. Animal Welfare Approved reviews its standards annually, updating them as needed to incorporate new research and on-farm findings.
Animal Welfare Approved has standards for all commonly domesticated farmed animals. The species covered by these standards are:
- Beef cattle
- Dairy cattle
- Dairy Sheep
- Dairy Goats
- Laying hens
- Meat chickens
A number of other species are managed for meat and fiber. Animal Welfare Approved will only consider accrediting other more exotic species if they are indigenous to the country where they are being produced. Currently the only additional species is as follows:
- Bison in the US
Animal Welfare Approved in the US cannot consider the following non-indigenous species for entry into the program:
- Water Buffalo
- Ratites (Ostriches, Rheas, Emus)
- Llamas and Alpacas