Caring for Farm Animals
We have a responsibility to ensure that animals are treated with respect and care in the process of providing nutritious food that is served in our restaurants. Our Animal Welfare Policy defines Darden’s position and outlines our approach and commitments to animal welfare.
Our Animal Welfare Policy
Darden takes animal welfare very seriously. A key tenet of our approach is to work with protein suppliers who are committed to the improvement of animal welfare. We expect our suppliers to share our commitment to the ‘Five Freedoms’ of care throughout the life of farm animals and to also provide a valid and verified animal welfare certification.
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
Animal Welfare Council
In 2019, we established an Animal Welfare Council, which unites a cross-functional group of academics and thought leaders in the care of animals in food supply chains. This group is responsible for continued efforts to improve animal welfare outcomes and most recently, mapped out a framework and process for working with chicken suppliers on key welfare areas, including medically important antibiotic usage.
Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway
Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences
Colorado State University
Dr. Leonie Jacobs
Assistant Professor, Animal Welfare & Behavior
Dr. Tiffany Lee
Director, Animal Welfare
Clemens Food Group
Jorgette Marinez, Chair
Director, Global Lead FBA, Consumer Sectors
Dr. Janice Swanson
Professor, Director of Animal Welfare
Michigan State University
Our Commitments to Animal Welfare
Improved Animal Welfare Outcomes: Our goal is that Darden’s suppliers will contribute to measurable, continuous improvements in animal welfare outcomes by 2025. Darden will work with our suppliers, industry peers, and our Animal Welfare Advisory Council to define these metrics in line with developments in welfare measurement methods and begin pilot testing.
Poultry: In partnership with our poultry suppliers, we will continue to seek improvements that result in healthy biological function, expression of natural behavior and humane processing. In addition, Darden is committed to purchasing chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics by 2023 and will continue to work with suppliers on monitoring responsible antibiotic usage.
Pork: Since 2016, Darden has committed to work with pork suppliers to limit the use of gestation crates for housing pregnant sows, with a goal to source only gestation-crate free pork by 2025. The majority of our suppliers today have made a commitment to housing improvements.
Eggs: 100% of all egg products purchased by Darden are sourced from cage-free housing systems.
Antibiotics: Darden requires its suppliers to comply with the FDA guidelines which recommend that antibiotics that are important in human medicine no longer be used with farm animals for growth purposes, and shared-class antibiotics (i.e., those used by both humans and animals) only be used to treat, prevent and control disease in farm animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. We will continue to monitor compliance that all of our land-based protein supply meets these guidelines.