Higher-Welfare Options Just Got Much Easier to Find!

February 16, 2024

cows in a pasture

One company just made it a lot easier for compassionate consumers to find more humane options they can trust. This week, the national meat delivery service ButcherBox® announced that it has obtained ASPCA-recognized animal welfare certifications for all of its meat products—beef, bison, pork, turkey and chicken. Because they’re an online retailer, consumers can support a better farming system without even leaving home!

The ASPCA launched our Shop With Your Heart® program to connect concerned consumers with verifiably higher-welfare alternatives to factory farmed meat, eggs and dairy. Studies continue to show that shoppers are concerned about cruel conditions on farms and want to buy from brands that treat animals more humanely, but misleading labelling and scattered availability of welfare-certified products make it challenging. ButcherBox offering exclusively welfare-certified products for delivery nationwide breaks down a barrier that has long existed for consumers to find products that align with their values.  

Curious about what higher welfare means for the lives and treatment of farm animals? Learn more about some of the practices that go into the third-party certifications ButcherBox has obtained. 

 Beef Cattle: Feedlot Free!

Most cattle are fed so they grow rapidly before slaughter in muddy, hot feedlots, crowded with hundreds or thousands of other cows, which causes them distress. They are fed a grain-based diet of corn and soy, one that is unnatural and harmful to their bodies. Alternatively, cows that are raised “grassfed” on Certified Humane® farms are kept on pasture instead of being shipped to feedlots and they only feed on grass and forage, never grain.

Pigs: Never in Cramped Crates

Cruel forms of confinement like gestation crates and farrowing crates are always prohibited for Certified Humane pork products. Pigs raised under this certification are also given more space and enrichments like straw to encourage natural behaviors like rooting and nest building. Tail docking, a common procedure in which piglets’ tails are cut off without any pain relief, is prohibited.

Chickens: Better, Healthier Breed Options

ButcherBox’s new heirloom pasture-raised chickens are a world apart from the majority of chickens raised and sold in the United States. Most chickens raised for meat are the Cornish Cross breed, which has been genetically selected to grow at unnaturally fast and disproportionate rates. These “Frankenchickens,” as they’re often called, suffer from heart, muscle and foot injuries because their bodies cannot keep up with their unnatural growth. ButcherBox’s heirloom pasture-raised chickens are from a higher-welfare breed with inherently healthier genetics that enable the birds to enjoy a better quality of life. These birds are Global Animal Partnership® (G.A.P.) Step 4 certified and Better Chicken Project certified, and they are compliant with the Better Chicken Commitment—a set of standards widely endorsed by many animal welfare organizations.

If you aren’t choosing the heirloom chicken, ButcherBox’s other chicken option is G.A.P. certified Step 3, which requires that birds have more indoor space than they would be given in a CAFO, or factory farm, and are given enrichments to help them exhibit their natural behaviors. They’re given access to the outdoors during daylight hours, too.

If you eat meat but don’t want to support factory farming, our Shop With Your Heart Grocery List makes it easy for you to find brands like ButcherBox that offer welfare-certified products. Our list also contains hundreds of tasty plant-based options.

Regardless of what you eat, you can help build a more ethical and humane food system. To receive updates on the newest additions to our Grocery List, and discover ways to advocate for animals, sign up for our Factory Farming Task Force!