Animal Welfare

Aaron Miller of Miller Livestock, a Bon Appétit Management Company Farm to Fork vendor in Ohio

“Bon Appétit Management Company has been leading the way on animal welfare issues within the food industry since its inception. Whether it’s sourcing from higher welfare suppliers, endorsing legislation tackling animal cruelty, or offering more plant-based meals, the company sets a very high bar for social responsibility.”
—Josh Balk, senior director of food policy for the Humane Society of the United States

At Bon Appétit we believe that we can change the food system to reduce animal suffering. Our purchasing philosophy when it comes to animal products is three-tiered: We believe in supporting small farms, rewarding responsible mid-size ones, and using our market power to influence the big producers to improve their practices.

WHAT BON APPÉTIT IS DOING

HenWe have led our industry in our early and detailed commitments to sourcing more humanely raised meat, poultry, and eggs:

  • Our contracted pork comes from sows that live in group housing, not inhumane gestation crates, for over 90% of their pregnancies. Our pork also comes from animals never given antibiotics or growth promoters (since 2016).
  • Our ground beef is humanely raised (since 2012).
  • No foie gras or crate-raised veal (since 2012).
  • Eggs are certified cage-free (shell eggs since 2005, and precracked/liquid eggs on track for mid-2016).
  • Turkey and chicken are raised without routine antibiotics (since 2003).
  • Milk and yogurt come from cows not treated with rBGH (since 2003).
  • Vegetarian/vegan options offered every meal day (always).

We are also asking our suppliers to make the following changes by 2026, or sooner if there are breakthroughs on resolving these issues:

  • Cease or begin phasing out the cruel practice of tail docking of dairy cows immediately
  • Cease dehorning without pain management for dairy and beef cattle by 2026, or sooner if there are breakthroughs on resolving these issues (such as using polled genetics so that cattle are born without horns).
  • Evaluate more humane farrowing (birth and post-natal) practices for breeding sows
  • Evaluate options for more enriched environments and for phasing out tail docking and castration procedures performed without pain management for all hogs.
  • For broiler chickens, in partnership with the animal welfare certification program Global Animal Partnership (GAP) we have committed to transforming the welfare of the broiler chickens within our supply chain. By 2024, all of Bon Appétit’s broiler chickens will be certified under GAP’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program, including: the use of approved genetics for slower-growing strains; offering enrichments including hay bales, perches, and natural light; ensuring minimum space requirements (at least a square foot per 6 lbs); and utilizing Controlled Atmosphere Stunning to render them unconscious prior to shackling. (Performance will be benchmarked annually and publicly reported.)

We also continue to work on ensuring that 25% or more of our total meat, poultry, and egg purchases come from producers whose practices have been certified by the independent animal-welfare monitors Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), Food Alliance, Animal Welfare Approved, or Global Animal Partnership.

Being a pioneer hasn’t been easy – watch our Chief Strategy & Brand Officer’s TEDxManhattan talk on YouTube about the challenges of meeting our gestation crate target.

The meat, egg, and dairy industries are by nature slow moving, whether for ending abuses that could be eliminated in the near term, or for infrastructure changes that require time and capital to overhaul their physical facilities as well as to breed animals that can tolerate and thrive in the new environments (such as group housing for sows). By listing which current standard practices we would like to see phased out, we hope to send a clear message: We expect the industry to keep moving toward more humane treatment of farm animals in this country.

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