Understanding Turkey Labels

Not sure which food labels mean what for turkeys? Use our guide below to learn the meaning behind the labels on your turkey products—and whether they actually impact turkey welfare. Look for the ASPCA recommended labels Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane and Global Animal Partnership (Step 2 or higher), and then take our Shop With Your Heart pledge to access more resources to help you find these products and make welfare-conscious choices the next time you go shopping.

Turkey Label Guide

Animal Welfare Approved
Animal Welfare Approved
 

Certified Humane
Certified Humane

Global Animal Partnership
GAP 5-Step Program

American Humane Certified
American Humane Certified

USDA Organic
USDA Organic†

Free Range
Free Range


No Antibiotics Ever


Natural

Outdoor Access Required

Yes, pasture access required

Only if free-range

Step 1-2: Not required

Step 3: Yes, outdoor access

Step 4-5+: Yes, pasture access 

Only if free-range

Yes, but undefined

Yes, but undefined

No

No

Indoor Space (Max stocking density)

5 ft2 per bird

7.5 lb/ft2  
(~4 ft2 per bird)

Step 1: 10 lb/ft2
(~3 ft2 per bird)

Step 2: 7.5 lb/ft2
4 ft2 per bird)

Step 3: 6.5 lb/ft2
(~4.6 ft2 per bird)

Step 4-5+: 6 lb/ft2
(~5 ft2 per bird)

Must be “able to stand, turn around, and flap their wings”

None

None

None

None

Breed Health Requirements

“Must be chosen with consideration of their ability to thrive in… pasture-based, free range, outdoor systems”

“Care must be taken to avoid genetic strains with undesirable traits”

All steps: ”Must be chosen for good leg health and for low levels of mortality” 

Step 4-5+: “Must be chosen for the ability to range and for good immune systems” 

Step 5-5+: “Must be able to perch”

None

None

None

None

None

Natural Light Required

Yes

No

Step 3 and higher 

No

No

No

No

No

Enrichments Required

Yes

Yes

Step 2 and higher 

No

No

No

No

No

Toe-Clipping Prohibited

Yes

Yes

Step 1: Permitted on first three toes using microwave technology

Step 2-5+: Prohibited

No, permitted <24hrs at hatchery using microwave technology

No

No

No

No

Beak-Trimming Prohibited

Yes

No, permitted
< 10d

Step 1-3: Permitted at hatchery using infrared

Step 4-5+: Prohibited 

No, permitted <24hrs at hatchery using infrared

No

No

No

No

Routine Antibiotic Use Prohibited

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

On-Farm Audits

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Detailed On-Farm Standards

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

100% Compliance with Standards

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

† Although the USDA Organic program released new, stronger animal welfare standards in January 2017, the USDA has twice delayed the rule’s implementation, seemingly with an eye toward scrapping the protections altogether. We are monitoring new developments and will keep you updated; be sure to join the Advocacy Brigade for alerts if you haven’t already.