Earth Fare’s Animal Welfare Policy
Earth Fare has been a leader in the industry regarding animal welfare for over forty years. As a key component to our unparalleled Food Philosophy and strict quality standards, our certified humanely raised standards do not solely apply to poultry alone, but we extend the physical, behavioral, and mental well-being of farm animals to all-encompassing proteins that are sold in every Earth Fare location, including pork, beef and lamb. At Earth Fare, we believe that bettering animal welfare is a key part of good, ethical business and should apply to all breeds of animals; a belief we have stood behind for over four decades. Earth Fare markets animal meats and dairy products from farmers and suppliers that are humanely certified.
As part of our ongoing process aimed to improve animal welfare, we are engaging our suppliers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that our policies and targets for continuous improvement are progressive, meaningful, and help drive the industry forward.
Earth Fare’s Commitment to Chicken Welfare
Earth Fare will work collaboratively with our industry partners to meet or exceed the standards of the Better Chicken Commitment as follows for our entire selection of fresh and frozen chicken from the meat department, value-added meals, full-service case and rotisserie chicken at every Earth Fare location. We will demonstrate compliance to all standards via third party auditing and report annually on our progress. It should be noted that as of today (2021), Earth Fare does currently carry poultry options that are GAP Certified and either meet or exceed the standards set forth by the Better Chicken Commitment.
• Earth Fare’s entire selection of fresh, organic chicken assortment provides an environment that is designed to encourage the natural behavior of chickens such as pecking, scratching, exploration, and play.
• Earth Fare works with over 70 family producing farms, each being recognized as 100% certified humane and each accredited by a third-party agency.
• Earth Fare will offer an expanded assortment of pasture-raised chicken which ensures chickens live outside in a natural habitat- on grass, in the fresh air and sunshine with plenty of space to roam and forage. By rotating the chickens to fresh pasture every single day, it is not only healthy but also goes beyond sustainability to rebuild healthy, regenerative soils and grasslands.
• Earth Fare will require chicken farmers to reduce stocking density on 100% of chicken assortment to 6.0 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages to allow chickens more room to move about.
• Earth Fare will require vendors to provide birds enriched environments including litter, lighting, and enrichment that meet Better Chicken Commitment standards.
• Earth Fare will require chicken processors to dispatch chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun (CAS). This more humane technology is intended to provide a less stressful experience and contribute to improved animal welfare, better processing conditions, and higher quality meat. As of 2021, 30% of the chicken sold at Earth Fare is processed through CAS facilities. We have set a target to increase this amount to more than 80% by 2024 and 100% by 2025.
• Earth Fare’s supply chain will offer the highest welfare chicken breeds that meet the Better Chicken Commitment by 2026. Earth Fare will continue to monitor scientific research and studies regarding chicken breeds, and is committed to procuring the most sustainably and humanely raised breeds.
• Earth Fare will only sell chicken that is certified humanely raised and accredited by a third-party agency. Earth Fare’s supply chain will offer the highest welfare chicken breeds. Earth Fare will continue to monitor scientific research and studies regarding chicken breeds and is committed to procuring the most sustainably and humanely raised breeds.