As a restaurant company that serves 390 million guests annually, Darden
is committed to using quality ingredients that are sustainably sourced — and that includes the humane treatment of farm animals in our supply chain. To that end, we have announced a new Animal Welfare Policy
to ensure that animals are treated with respect and care.
After a thorough, thoughtful process, which included extensive benchmarking and input from a variety of stakeholders, we adopted the policy because it was important to articulate Darden’s position and values around animal welfare.
Our approach will help to clearly prioritize and promote improved animal welfare outcomes in line with the best available science and production practices. “Taking an outcomes-based approach fosters partnership with producers,” said Kristine Young, manager of sustainability for Darden. “By focusing on the health of the animal, we can help ensure improvements to overall welfare are achieved.” This includes improved outcomes in the animals’ physical and mental well-being such as increased mobility, increased displays of natural behaviors, reduced injury and mortality rates, and reduced stress and fear.
We will work with our suppliers, industry peers and our Animal Welfare Advisory Council to ensure that our suppliers will contribute to measureable, continuous improvements in five priority areas by 2025:
- Humane Housing
- Avoidance of Pain
- Slaughter Practices
- Farm Animal Transportation
- Responsible Use of Antibiotics
In addition, Darden is committed to purchasing chicken raised without medically important antibiotics by 2023.
“Darden is to be commended for implementing an animal welfare program and employing progressive approaches to assure animal welfare in their supply chain,” said Dr. Janice Swanson, a director of animal welfare and professor at Michigan State University.
The Animal Welfare Policy builds on Darden’s Food Principles, a framework we created three years ago to help us define how we look at sustainability in our supply chain. “It allows us to make the right food decisions for our guests by balancing the principles of food quality, food safety and ethical sourcing,” Kristine said. “We can’t make any decisions without using all three of those principles together.”