Animal Welfare Policy

May 2019

Eggs, Pork, and Veal

Hens, sows, and veal calves are commonly raised in cages.  Cages don’t allow animals to express the five freedoms* and are inhumane housing systems.

  • We buy cage-free liquid eggs, shell eggs, egg yolks and whites, and work to ensure that all of our chefs have access to a supply of eggs that are cage-free. Well-maintained indoor aviary systems fit our definition of “cage-free.”
  • We buy pork from producers who have, or who are actively in the process of eliminating gestation crates and individuals stalls (where available). We appreciate the need for farrowing crates to protect the life of piglets.
  • We appreciate that changing practices takes time and money and are willing to buy from producers who are in the process of making changes where they can demonstrate progress toward meeting goals by 2025 or sooner.
  • We do not buy crated veal. Period.

* The five freedoms are freedom (1) from hunger and thirst, (2) from discomfort and pain, (3) from injury or disease, (4) to express (most) normal behaviors, and (5) from fear and distress

 

Meat and Dairy

Including beef, chicken, turkey, duck, goat, lamb, cheese and fluid dairy.

The overuse of medically-important antibiotics is common in animal food production systems and is a public health time bomb.

  • We buy meat from producers who are actively working toward eliminating medically-important antibiotics and have a commitment to do so by 2025 or sooner. We use the WHO definition for medically-important antibiotics and buy from producers who understand why the distinction between classes of antibiotics matter.  
  • We support producers who use antibiotics judiciously to treat illnesses in flocks or herds to protect small ranchers’ livelihoods and practice good animal welfare.
  • Cows should not be tethered and raised solely indoors except in extreme cold or hot weather months where living outdoors is not their preference nor wise for their health. Where it is possible to trace our supplies, we do not buy dairy products from cows who are tethered or have no outdoor access.

Plant-based proteins and cellular meat

  • Consistent with our belief that the healthiest diets are primarily composed of plants, that a general shift from meat to plants is necessary for the health of our Earth, and less pressure to eat meat will create conditions for better animal welfare, we actively promote menuing and recipe development of a wide variety of plant-based proteins that replace meat. These include mock meat, vegan cheese and other dairy products, eggless mayo, blended burgers and ‘meatballs.’
  • For animal welfare reasons specifically, we are in favor of attempts to develop cell-based meat, whose DNA is the same as animals but whole animals do not have to be raised to be slaughtered. We strongly oppose efforts to criminalize the use of the word “meat” by producers of meat who employ cellular agriculture. Consumers who are allergic to meat proteins are also allergic to cell-based meat and need to be informed.

Progress toward Goals

  • Our contracted SKUs meet the criteria above and are stocked everywhere we can stock them (which covers approximately 80% of regions where we currently operate). Where we cannot stock an item due to insufficient demand, our chefs are encouraged to buy regionally-available products that meet the same standard.
  • We “count and coach.” Where chefs buy products that do not meet the standard, and can buy an alternative, we point them to alternative products and monitor their purchasing progress.