Caring for Farm Animals Caring for Farm Animals

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
Our Animal Welfare Policy

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

Virginia Tech

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

Animal Welfare Improved Animal Welfare Outcomes

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.

Animal Welfare Poultry

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.

Animal Welfare Pork

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.

Animal Welfare Eggs

Eggs: 100% of all egg products purchased by Darden are sourced from cage-free housing systems.

Animal Welfare Antibiotics

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.