More than 90 percent of our pork is third-party certified by Global Animal Partnership (Step 1or higher) or Certified Humane. Applegate works with the handful of non-certified farms to transition them to our standards. Here are the highlights:
- No crates. Ever. Applegate farmers use an open-pen system that allows for free movement. In other hog systems, sows (mother hogs) are kept in gestation crates that don’t allow them to turn around, and then the sows are confined in farrowing crates to nurse piglets. Pregnant sows have 32 square feet of space or more by Applegate standards compared to 14 square feet in other systems. That’s more than twice as much space. Organic pigs have outdoor access.
- No tail docking or teeth clipping. In many systems, piglets have their tails cut and teeth trimmed because overcrowded conditions lead to pigs gnawing on each others’ tails. We make sure our pigs have enough space and the proper environment so that this practice is not necessary.
- On solid ground. On our farms, the flooring in barns is nearly all solid (at least 70 percent) and has bedding such as hay or straw. Why? Because fully slatted floors, which are the norm, can lead to discomfort and injury for the pigs. The straw also keeps the pigs occupied and satisfies their natural urge to seek and root.
- More time with mom. Piglets in hog farms that supply Applegate nurse with their mothers longer than in other systems. This extra time helps further the growth and development of the piglets, including their immune systems and eases the transition to the nursery and a new diet.
These videos show how Applegate Humanely Raised works at one of our hog suppliers.
Cattle raised for Applegate comes from Australia where ranchers have perfected the art of grass-fed beef. Applegate staff, who are trained through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO), inspect ranches.
- Our cattle are on grass. The cattle are on pasture for their entire lives. Supplemental harvested grasses are provided in cases of drought or dormant pasture.
- Room to Roam. Our pasture-based system gives cattle plenty of room to graze and move around until processing, compared to some other systems, where beef cattle spend the last three to six months of their lives on feed lots or in barns, with each animal getting between 40 to 500 square feet of space.
See how our cattle are raised in Australia.
All the turkey raised for Applegate is third-party certified for animal welfare standards by GAP (Step 1or higher) or Certified Humane.
- Breathing room. We provide more space for our turkeys than in other systems. This promotes improved air quality, which is monitored regularly. Organic turkeys have access to the outdoors.
- Day and night. Lighting programs are designed to provide enough hours of darkness to give the turkeys a restful environment and follow the normal daylight/darkness cycles, leading to natural growth rates.
- Keeping busy. Farmers who raise turkeys for Applegate provide environmental enrichments such as toys in the form of hanging ropes, mirrors, and plastic tubing that allow the turkeys to engage in normal behavior like pecking, scratching and playing.
- Watch the toes and beaks. In other systems, turkeys often have toenails trimmed or “conditioned,” to prevent the birds from harming each other. By providing more space, Applegate farmers lessen the chances of the birds scratching each other – eliminating the need for any toe-nail alterations. Applegate only permits conservative beak conditioning to protect the birds from negative pecking behavior, which can occur at times. However, most negative pecking is prevented by providing ample space, diets that meet nutritional needs, fresh air and environmental enrichments.
Meet some of the farmers who supply Applegate.
All of the chicken raised for Applegate meet GAP (Level 2 or higher) or Certified Humane standards and are verified.
- Breathing room. We provide more space for our chickens than in other systems. Air and litter/bedding quality are improved leading to healthy birds, low stress, and room to move. Organic birds also have access to the outdoors.
- Day and night. Lighting programs are designed to provide daylight/darkness cycles that mimic nature and ensure a natural growth pattern.
- Keeping busy and staying safe. Farmers who raise chickens for Applegate provide environmental enrichments such as hanging ropes and mirrors as well as boxes and huts that allow the birds to engage in normal behavior like pecking and perching. The boxes and huts also give the chickens an opportunity to take a break from their barn mates. Interaction with the enrichments and displaying natural behaviors is a reflection of healthy, comfortable birds.
- Physical alterations. Our chickens receive no physical alterations
Video's coming soon!
Want to go deeper? Click here for more details on Applegate’s animal welfare standards.