Humane Eating - 5 Step

Humane Eating 5-Step

About 1 year ago, I made the decision to eat “cruelty free”. When I first started this journey, I had no idea that it would be just that…a journey. Of course I did the cliche attempt of going “cold turkey”, but that was short lived. I discovered that if I really wanted to successfully make this lifestyle change, i’d have to take it step by step.

So I started with educating myself on the meat I was buying.


One of the first things I did when making better choices was using the 5-STEP ANIMAL WELFARE RATING.

At Whole Foods Market, 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating means 100+ standards for beef, pork, chicken and turkey. The system not only gives you the knowledge to make informed food choices, it encourages and rewards farmers and ranchers to improve their welfare practices.

***So this Blog doesnt turn into a 5 hour read, i’m focusing on the steps for cattle. But PLEASE go to the WholeFoods website or Google the steps for both Chickens and Pork.***

If the meat you buy is part of the 5-Step Welfare Rating System, then here are the things you can be sure of:

1. No added hormones:

Giving hormones to animals raised for meat accelerates their growth, getting animals to market faster and reducing feed costs. This is a cruel daily practice they have to endure, and not to mention we are then injecting those hormones.

2. No Antibiotics, Ever:

Producers administer them regularly to prevent disease and promote growth. WF prohibits antibiotics for treating disease or infection. The health of livestock is maintained by good management, including alternative remedies found effective in treating animals. To ensure that sick animals do not suffer, if an injury or illness does not respond to alternative methods, they require that the animal is treated; however, the meat from that animal cannot be sold to Whole Foods Market.

3. Animal Care:

Caring for farm animals goes beyond prohibiting antibiotics and added hormones. They also take into account the comfort, physical safety and health of the animals. For everything in their meat department, they require producers to verify that their practices meet their requirements.

4. Processing:

The way farm animals are raised and treated on the farm or ranch is only part of the story. They also require third-party audits at slaughter plants. The areas of evaluation include:

  • Condition of animals upon arrival

  • Calm, efficient unloading procedures

  • Animals handled with patience & respect

  • Well maintained facility ensuring quiet movement of animals

  • Non-slip flooring and ramps to reduce the risk of injury to the animals

  • Critical stunning efficacy requirements

  • 99% successful stun at first attempt

  • 100% of animals unconscious before slaughter. THIS should be a MUST.

Now for the steps. When you go to WholeFoods, you’ll see the 5-steps labeled all over the fresh meat section.

Simply put, here’s what each step means:

Step 1:

PROS: The animal isn’t give antibiotics or hormones. Their babies get to stay with them till they are 6 months old. They spend 2/3 their lives on the “range”.

CONS: The babies are taken from their moms at only 6 months when they still need them. They spend 2/3 their SHORT life crowded on a body-to-body “range”, until they are put into torturous pens (finishing yards), standing in their own filth, and are transported across the country to be slaughtered. Many die during the transport because the transport process is so stressful.

Step 2:

PROS: This step is the exact same as step 1 except the animal is given a scratching post for grooming.

CONS: All of the same as step 1.

Step 3:

There is no step 3 for cattle. But for chickens and pigs, please check out the 5-Step Program on the Whole Foods website.

Step 4:

PROS: The animal isn’t given any anti-biotics or hormones, and spends at least 3/4 its life on the “range”, & never goes to any “finishing yards”.

CONS: The animal must spend more than half its short life crowded together with other cattle, before being loaded up onto buses sardine style for a drive across the country to then be slaughtered. Again, many die in transit due to the stress.

Step 5 & 5+:

PROS: Along with no antibiotics, no hormones, and scratching posts, the animal spends its entire life on the “range”, never goes to the “finishing yard”, calves spend their whole life with their mothers, and the farmer who raised them is the one who slaughters them.

CONS: Due to demand, these animals are still crowded together their entire (but short) lives, unable to be free.

I wrote this blog with the intention to give you some easily digestible info on how to make better choices. I’m well on my way to eating 100% cruelty free…Please let me know if I can help you on your journey!

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