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Our standard is simple: No antibiotics, ever.

Animals deserve to be handled with care and respect.

Are GMO ingredients good or bad? The jury is out, so we took them out.

Applegate Humanely Raised vs Typical Industry Practices

Applegate Humanely Raised versus Typical Industry Practices
Practices Applegate Typical Industry*
No antibiotics ever Check  
No growth hormones or beta agonists** Check  
100% vegetarian diet, no animal by-products Check  
More space to engage in natural behaviors and promote natural growth Check  
Environmental enrichments (poultry and pigs) Check  

*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 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.

The Five Freedoms

Developed in the United Kingdom in 1965, the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are widely considered by groups such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, as the foundation of humane treatment.

  • 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.

  • No antibiotics.

    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.

  • More space.

    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.

  • Environmental enrichments.

    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?

Animal Raising Practices For Pork
Practices Applegate Typical Industry*
No crates ever Check  
No Ractopamine (banned in 160 countries, used to promote lean muscle growth) Check  
No tail docking or teeth clipping Check  
More solid flooring (reduces injury and stress) Check  
More time with Mom (longer weaning period) Check  

*Comparison based on practices outlined by National Pork Board.

100 percent of our pork is third-party certified by Global Animal Partnership® (Step 1 or higher) or Certified Humane®. Applegate works with a 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. 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.

Prop 12, or Proposition 12, establishes new minimum standards for the confinement of laying hens, breeding pigs and calves raised for veal and bans the sale of non-compliant products in the state of California. What does this mean for Applegate? Applegate humanely raised standards exceed Prop 12 requirements for pigs, allowing us to continue to serve you crave-able pork items, such as bacon. For more details, check out this article.

Watch how Applegate Humanely Raised works at one of our hog suppliers: