At Sprouts we believe that bettering animal welfare is a key part of good business. We recognize our responsibility to ensure the welfare of farm animals throughout our supply chain with respect to their physical, behavioral, and mental well-being. We are working to establish and implement meaningful animal welfare standards across our meat supply chain. As part of this process, aimed to improve animal welfare, we are engaging our suppliers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other relevant stakeholders to ensure our policies and targets for continuous improvement are progressive, meaningful, and help drive the industry forward.
Sprouts encourages the use of new and improved stunning and slaughter technologies that lead to better animal welfare, where dumping and live shackling of birds is not permitted. Many of our chicken suppliers utilize controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) to modify the atmosphere when harvesting chicken. This more humane technology provides a less stressful experience, contributing to improved animal welfare, better processing conditions, and higher quality meat. Approximately 60 percent of the chicken sold from our meat department are processed from facilities using CAS.
All chicken sold in our Meat department, including Sprouts Butcher Shop Chicken, is raised with no antibiotics, ever. While we support the use of antibiotics on animals for therapeutic purposes only (i.e. disease treatment) as directed by a licensed veterinarian, any chickens that require therapeutic use of antibiotics are removed from our supply chain and sold to conventional retailers.
Sprouts only sources whole pork products from suppliers that utilize open-pen or group-housed facilities.
All pork sold in our Meat department, including Sprouts Butcher Shop Pork, is raised with no antibiotics or beta agonists, ever. While we support the use of antibiotics on animals for therapeutic purposes only (i.e. disease treatment) as directed by a licensed veterinarian, pork that requires therapeutic use of antibiotics is removed from our supply chain and sold to conventional retailers.
Sprouts has been at the forefront of sourcing cage-free or better eggs for many years. As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and animal welfare, we are working with suppliers to transition to a 100 percent cage-free egg assortment by 2022. We completed the first phase of this commitment in 2016 by transitioning all our Sprouts Brand eggs to cage-free or USDA Certified Organic eggs. We’ve made great progress with our suppliers on our cage-free commitment and will continue to transition our remaining selection of eggs to 100 percent cage-free by 2022 or sooner, based on supply, quality, affordability, and customer demand. Currently, 100 percent of our Sprouts brand shell eggs are cage-free or better. Companywide, 98 percent of all shell eggs and 100 percent of liquid eggs sold are from cage-free farms.
Sprouts encourages farmers to develop programs for breeding polled, or naturally hornless, cows to eliminate the need for dehorning. This approach has demonstrated success in the beef industry, and we support a similar approach in the dairy industry. We encourage all our dairy suppliers to support industry-wide efforts to promote the humane treatment of cattle, including responsible polled breeding practices. We discourage dehorning of cattle and request that our suppliers implement disbudding procedures following best practices such as providing analgesics and/or anesthetics. We also discourage routine tail docking and have asked our suppliers for timelines to phase out this practice.