Whole Foods Market has extended five-step ratings to turkeys this Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving shoppers will be able to learn how the turkeys they pick for Thanksgiving meals were raised. The Global Animal Partnership (GAP) is planning to undertake this program for rating the welfare of animals.

Whole Foods Market adopted a five-step program meant to ensure the welfare of animals in 2011 for beef, chicken and pork sold to its customers to provide information on how the animals were raised. GAP has announced new standards for turkeys along with the release of the new standards for raising chickens meant for meat. Whole Foods Market has put the program in place across its chain of stores.

The Global Animal Partnership was created in 2008 as a non- profit making organization. It brings together different stakeholders such as animal advocates, farmers, retailers, ranchers, and scientists with the mutual aim of improving the well-being of animals in food production. GAP sets standards for raising practices and animal management through a five-step system to promote continuous improvement of animal welfare. These are:

1: There should be no crowding, cages or crates.

2: The environment should be enriched for animal rearing.

3: There should be ease of access to the outside.

4: The pasture should be centrally located.

5: The structure should be more centered for the animals with no physical changes.

Whole Foods has embraced the GAP program saying that it provides transparency for customers and explains the incremental changes that suppliers make to continue improving the lives of animals.

According to Whole Foods it is the first retailer to give transparency on turkey raising practices for the birds sold in the meat section. The chain also requires that the animals supplied to them for all meat be raised without antibiotics.