Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step® Animal Welfare Certification Program

GAP Logo

At Simply Grazin’ we are currently Step 4 rated with the Global Animal Partnership.

Global Animal Partnership (GAP) is one of the largest animal welfare certification labeling programs in North America. They set the standard for how farm animals are raised – positively impacting 416 million farm animals each year through their 5-Step® Animal Welfare Certification Program.

The 5-Step® Animal Welfare Certification Program includes specific standards for each species of animal for beef, bison, chicken, goat, laying hens, pigs, sheep, and turkey. Since every species has different needs, GAP standards are customized for each animal type. You can view the specific standards for each species by clicking here to view them on the GAP website.

GAP’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program is extremely rigorous and involves collaborative input from farmers, scientists, veterinarians, industry experts and certifiers along the way to assign the appropriate animal welfare certification level.

Some more details about the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program:

  • Animal welfare is defined by considering the health and productivity of the animal, natural behaviors, and the emotional well-being of the animal.
  • Every single farm is audited every 15 months (unlike some certification programs that only audit a percentage of farms)
  • Audits are done by independent firms and through different seasons.
  • All standards are field tested on a farm before being approved.
  • Based on the results of the audit, the farm or ranch will earn a Step Rating of 1 through 5+.

The GAP website provides considerable details about each step if you want to dig in, but here are the basic standards for each step:

Step 1 – Base level certification
Step 2 – Enriched environment – like straw bales for chickens or shade structures & scratching posts for cattle
Step 3 – Outdoor access – animals able to go outdoors
Step 4 – Pasture raised – access to pasture and the outdoors all year round
Step 5 – Animal centered – always on pasture and no physical alterations permitted
Step 5+ – Entire life on the same farm


GAP 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Labels

Their labels provide consumers an easy way to identify how animals were raised while also allowing for continuous improvement on-farm. GAP ensures their farm animal welfare standards are being met on every farm – not just a sample. This level of detail is important so when consumers see the GAP label, they can feel good about the meat they eat. GAP Certified products can be found in stores throughout North America.

At our wholesale partner, Whole Foods Market, you’ll see information about all 5 steps behind the meat counter. It’s a convenient way to be reminded of what each step means. The GAP Certified labels have been in use at Whole Foods for their 365 brand for over a decade.

GAP certification can be found on raw meat, cooked meat like sausages and deli meat, chicken broth and even pet food. Certifications for dairy and farmed salmon are in the works.