In 2008, Whole Foods Market – a US-based natural and organic food grocer – successfully piloted a Step-rated Program at the launch of their flagship store in London, England. With the success of the launch in the UK, WFM’s co-CEO John Mackey felt that a significantly greater impact could be achieved internationally by having an independent organization own and develop a farm animal welfare certification Program. And so in late 2008, with help from Whole Foods Market, the Global Animal Partnership was born.
Whole Foods Market became one of our core supporters and retail partners but GAP also partners with several other US grocers (Roots Market, Elephant Grocers) – and certified products from the 5-Step® Program can be found in other retail and foodservice outlets in multiple countries. We are very proud of the growth and impact GAP has had so far and we plan to continue improving the lives of farm animals step by step for many years to come.
Developing The 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating Standards Program
Global Animal Partnership’s leadership also understood 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 goal of promoting continuous improvement in animal agriculture. Though we 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, we didn’t want to wait to begin working with farmers and ranchers to improve the lives of animals. So, we decided to roll out our program in phases—first with three sets of on-farm standards for broiler chickens, pigs, and beef cattle. Then in 2011, we launched our turkey standards. As Global Animal Partnership grows, we will continue to create additional welfare standards for other farm animal species.