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And it’s actually more like one bad moment. That’s what Applegate strives for when we say humanely raised. It’s a topic that no one really likes to talk about, and it makes some people uncomfortable. But we believe that animals raised for food deserve to be handled with care and respect. We do our best to make sure the animals raised for Applegate are treated that way, from breeding to their final moments.

Raising animals humanely is core to our mission: “Changing The Meat We Eat®.” Below we’ve outlined what we mean by Applegate Humanely Raised. If you have questions, we urge you to go to our help center, or reach out to our team via social media. We want to have these conversations with you because transparency and an open dialogue about food is integral to keeping our mission moving forward.


Developed in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are widely considered by groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA) as the foundation of humane treatment.


Applegate works with third-party certifiers like Global Animal Partnership® and Certified Humane® to ensure animals are raised and handled in ways that we believe line up with our mission and truly honor the Five Freedoms. The vast majority of our farms are third-party certified, in addition to being verified by our trained animal welfare experts.

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More than 90 percent of our pork is third-party certified by Global Animal Partnership® (Step 1 or higher) or Certified Humane®. Applegate works with the handful of non-certified farms to transition them to our standards. Here are the highlights:

  • No crates. Ever. Applegate farmers use an open-pen system that allows for free movement. On conventional hog farms, sows (mother hogs) are kept in gestation crates that don’t allow them to turn around, and then the sows are confined in farrowing crates to nurse piglets. Applegate standards require 32 square feet of space or more for pregnant sows compared to 14 square feet in other systems. That’s more than twice as much space. Organically-raised pigs have outdoor access.
  • No tail docking or teeth clipping. In many systems, piglets have their tails cut and teeth trimmed because overcrowded conditions lead to pigs gnawing on each others’ tails. We make sure our pigs have enough space and the proper environment so that this practice is not necessary.
  • On solid ground. On our farms, the flooring in barns is nearly all solid (at least 70 percent) and has bedding such as hay or straw. Why? Because fully slatted floors, which are the norm, can lead to discomfort and injury for the pigs. The straw also keeps the pigs occupied and satisfies their natural urge to seek and root.
  • More time with mom. We insist piglets nurse with their mothers longer than in other systems. This extra time helps further growth and development, including immune systems, and eases the transition to the nursery and a new diet.

Watch how Applegate Humanely Raised works at one of our hog suppliers.