How does such a diverse group of people from such very different backgrounds not only find common ground, but work together? How can a single voice emerge from so many opinions? What was the impetus behind developing a groundbreaking, multi-tiered rating program that encourages ever higher farm animal welfare?
Global Animal Partnership is a nonprofit charitable organization comprised of members of the farming and ranching, retail, and scientific communities, joined by three of the world’s largest animal advocacy organizations, who work together to advance a single mission of promoting and facilitating continuous improvement in the welfare of animals raised for food.
We were created after Whole Foods Market had worked for several years to establish even higher welfare standards for its own company. The natural and organic food grocer recognized that a greater global impact could be achieved by working with an independent organization, rather than alone, and donated the intellectual property developed during the creation of its own standards to our new, multi-stakeholder, nonprofit organization—Global Animal Partnership.
In order to be as effective as we must be, we knew that our new nonprofit had to bring to the table the many different voices concerned about the welfare of animals in agriculture—not only representatives from this sector or that.
We were excited about our decision to form a truly multi-stakeholder organization that can meet the needs of consumers who support higher welfare for animals raised for food and recognize those higher welfare farmers and ranchers.
We’re extremely heartened and continuously inspired that individuals from such diverse backgrounds are able to collaborate and continue to innovate practices for higher farm animal welfare.
We may not agree on everything, but our deep commitment to being open-minded and challenging beliefs we may have with the perspectives of others lets us work in partnership—positively and effectively.
Our 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards Program
After our founding in 2008, we took on the challenge of revising and expanding Whole Foods Market’s draft standards. Global Animal Partnership’s leadership came to realize that a multi-tiered standards program would be able to engage a broad spectrum of producers, expand markets for farmers committed to providing higher welfare for animals, and more effectively advance our singular aim of promoting continuous improvement in animal agriculture.
The very design of Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards program more accurately recognizes producers for their practices, encourages innovation and drive to move to even higher welfare farming, better informs consumers about the ways animals are raised for food and provides them with real choices at different levels of animal welfare they may want to support, and affords grocers and restaurants a wider range of products to offer.
Our 5-Step program is the only farm animal welfare rating system developed by producers working collaboratively with nonprofit animal advocacy organizations, where retailers’ needs are integrated with concern about animal welfare, and where scientific research joins with on-farm wisdom.
In an exclusive, two-year partnership with Whole Foods Market, we began our pilot of our 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards program.
Though we had wanted to launch a full suite of standards for all species raised for food and for all stages of production, we knew that its development would take years and, quite simply, we didn’t want to wait to begin working with farmers and ranchers to improve the lives of animals and recognize their higher welfare practices. We also knew that we had to devote a significant amount of time to establish our protocols and processes, train auditors, identify third-party certification companies, and more—basically, we understood that we needed to crawl, then walk, before we could run.
So, we decided to roll out our program in phases—first with three sets of on-farm multi-Step standards, for broiler chickens, pigs, and beef cattle.
We recently welcomed the successful conclusion of our pilot and we’re already well into the second phase of our program development.
Global Animal Partnership seeks to collaborate with anyone concerned about the welfare of farm animals, whether they be producers, scientists, advocates, retailers, or consumers. Meet 5-Step farmers, get to know our team, and read each of our personal statements.
We invite you to join us.