Applegate Humanely Raised vs Typical Industry Practices
No antibiotics ever
No growth hormones or beta agonists**
100% vegetarian diet, no animal by-products
More space to engage in natural behaviors and promote natural growth
Environmental enrichments (poultry and pigs)
*Comparison based on practices outlined by industry groups including: National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, National Pork Board, and National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
**Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in pigs and poultry. Federal regulations also prohibit the use of beta agonists for poultry.
Applegate Humanely Raised… Only One Bad Day…
And it’s actually more like one bad moment. That’s what Applegate strives for when we say humanely raised. It’s a topic that no one really likes to talk about, and it makes some people uncomfortable. But we believe that animals raised for food deserve to be handled with care and respect. We do our best to make sure the animals raised for Applegate are treated that way, from breeding to their final moments.
Raising animals humanely is core to our mission: “Changing The Meat We Eat®.” Below we’ve outlined what we mean by Applegate Humanely Raised. If you have questions, we urge you to go to our help center, or reach out to our team via social media. We want to have these conversations with you because transparency and an open dialogue about food is integral to keeping our mission moving forward.
Freedom from Hunger and Thirst: Ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
Freedom from Discomfort: Providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease: Prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
Freedom to Express Normal Behavior: Providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
Freedom from Fear and Distress: Ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.
Applegate Humanely Raised
Applegate works with third-party certifiers like Global Animal Partnership® and Certified Humane® to ensure animals are raised and handled in ways that we believe line up with our mission and truly honor the Five Freedoms. Applegate requires that all the farms we source from meet third-party certified animal welfare standards. In addition, we have a team of experts led by a doctor of animal science that visits and inspects farms for compliance.
More than 80 percent of the antibiotics in the United States, 65 percent of those considered "medically important," are used on farm animals. Much of the time, the antibiotics are used sub-therapeutically – a fancy way of saying to prevent disease from spreading. We believe the overuse of antibiotics isn’t just bad for the animals, but for humans. Studies show it’s contributing to the increase of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or superbugs. That’s why we don’t use them. You’re probably asking, what if an animal gets sick? If animals become ill, they are treated with antibiotics as prescribed by a veterinarian and sold to a supply chain outside of Applegate. But as a result of the superior animal husbandry practices like clean barns, fresh air, and more space, fewer animals need to be treated in the Applegate program.
No growth hormones or beta agonists.
Applegate does not allow any kind of drug or medication to either speed up an animal’s growth or increase lean muscle mass. We don’t believe it’s natural, and some of the drugs have been shown to put animals under stress.
100 percent vegetarian feed or grass-fed.
We prohibit animal by-products in animal feed. The vegetarian diets are specially designed to promote natural growth. Our cattle are raised on pasture their entire lives.
All animals raised for us get more room than animals in other systems. They’re freer to engage in natural behaviors and have less stress.
We require environmental enrichments for all of housed poultry and pigs. Birds and pigs get “toys” and have an atmosphere that allow for normal, natural behaviors, which promote wellbeing.
Want to know more about our animal raising practices?
No crates. Ever. Applegate farmers use an open-pen system that allows for free movement. On conventional hog farms, 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. Applegate standards require 32 square feet of space or more for pregnant sows compared to 14 square feet in other systems. That’s more than twice as much space. Organically raised 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 pigs have enough space and the proper environment so that this practice is not necessary.
On solid ground. We require that 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. We insist piglets nurse with their mothers longer than in other systems. This extra time helps further growth and development, including immune systems, and eases the transition to the nursery and a new diet.
Watch how Applegate Humanely Raised works at one of our hog suppliers:
100% grass-fed and pasture-raised
*Comparison based on practices outlined by National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
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 roam. In other systems, 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:
More space (up to 50% more) and better air quality
Lighting system designed to reduce stress and promote natural growth
Minimal beak conditioning and no toe alterations
*Comparison based on practices outlined by National Turkey Federation.
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 beaks and toes. 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.
Hear from some of the farmers that provide Applegate turkeys:
More space (up to 29% more) and better air quality
Lighting system designed to reduce stress and promote natural growth
*Comparison based on practices outlined by National Chicken Council.
Breathing room. We insist on more space for 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.
Hear from some of the farmers that provide Applegate chickens: