Animal Welfare-Friendly Practices

Updated December 20, 2021

Just as with our coffee, Starbucks goal is for all of our products to meet high quality and ethical standards. For the food and dairy we serve, this means a commitment to social responsibility standards with animal welfare as a primary focus. We are committed to working with and buying from farmers and suppliers who share our commitment to humane practices throughout an animal’s lifecycle.

Encouraging Industry Best Practices

In 2009, Starbucks established a buying preference in North America to use industry best practices for animal husbandry and processing for dairy, egg, and meat production. As this covers a wide range of practices, in consultation with key stakeholders including our partners (employees) and customers, key non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and through industry engagement, our current areas of focus include:

  • Supporting the responsible use of antibiotics to promote animal health, including the elimination of routine uses, such as growth promotion and routine disease prevention, of medically important antibiotics
  • Eliminating the use of artificial growth hormones, and for poultry, fast growing practices
  • Addressing concerns related to dehorning, tail docking, and castration both with and without anesthesia
  • Phasing out gestation crates for pigs and cages for chickens
  • Improving the welfare of broiler chickens

Specifically, our priority is to ensure we offer food made with ingredients such as cage-free eggs, gestation crate-free pork, and poultry processed through more humane systems such as CAK. For each of these focus areas, we work with the industry and stakeholders on increasing available supply and creating reasonable timeframes for achieving our goals.

Poultry Welfare

Cage-free Eggs

Since Starbucks first began buying cage-free eggs in 2008, we have made significant progress, increasing our purchases year over year. While there have been great strides in availability of the supply in the U.S., there is still work to be done across the industry to increase supply to address market availability globally. We remain committed to working with our suppliers toward our goal to exclusively use 100 percent cage-free eggs and egg products in company-operated stores globally. This commitment extends to all Starbucks branded products, including those supplied to our licensee business partners in North America.

As of July 2021, 100 percent of shell eggs, 99.99 percent of liquid eggs and 99.3 percent of ingredient eggs in North America company-operated stores are cage-free. In EMEA company-operated stores, 100 percent of egg and egg products are cage-free and 99.99 percent of liquid eggs are cage-free. In Asian company-operated markets such as China and Japan, the production of cage-free eggs is not widespread and supply is not yet available at scale. Starbucks will engage and consult with industry stakeholders on increasing the available supply in order to achieve our goal for company-operated stores.


Starbucks engaged with our suppliers and set a goal to serve only poultry raised without the routine use of medically important antibiotics in all company-operated U.S. stores by 2020. We met that goal in 2018.

Broiler Chicken Welfare

We are committed to improve conditions for broiler chickens and are working with our suppliers, licensees, and others in the industry to help ensure that by 2024 the chicken we buy for our U.S. stores is produced in alignment with the following Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards as assessed by a third party auditor:

  • Use of breeds proven to have better welfare outcomes
  • Reduce maximum stocking density to provide birds more space
  • Improve living environments including litter, lighting, and enrichment
  • Process chickens more humanely through a multi-step controlled-atmosphere processing system

Sow Housing

Starbucks is phasing out the excessive use of gestation stalls for the sows (mother pig) in our supply chain by 2030.  The excessive use of gestation stalls would include stalls where gestating sows do not have the ability to turn around. This commitment extends to all Starbucks branded products, including those supplied to our licensee business partners in the U.S. and Canada.

To reach our goal of phasing out the excessive use of gestation stalls, we will specify 100% “group housed” pork as a requirement of our pork suppliers in the U.S. and Canada and take steps to ensure a “group housed” pork supply by 2024.  We expect to demonstrate meaningful progress towards this goal in 2023.  Group housing will significantly reduce a sow’s time in a gestation stall.  

We will provide annual updates on improvements in the care and welfare of sows in our pork supply and continue to work with industry suppliers, veterinarians, and animal welfare advocates to help us meet our goal.  We will also learn as the science evolves and industry consensus is forged regarding standards and definitions on this matter.  We will also engage our sustainability stakeholders to ensure our animal welfare commitments, including our commitment to phase out the excessive use of gestation stalls, align as much as possible with our plan to reduce carbon, water, and waste by 2030.

Establishing a Global Standard

While we prioritize compliance with existing local animal welfare laws and regulations, we also recognize there is considerable variance in regulatory rigor across the many markets in which we do business. In cases where national standards are not in place, are minimal, or are not consistently enforced, we use the standards set for our U.S. business as our guideline. In addition to committing to this for our own business, we support the development of global science-based national and international standards and guidelines.

Driving Toward Industry-wide Solutions

Some of the issues we would like our suppliers to address must happen at the industry level. Recognizing the responsibility we have as the voice for our partners (employees) and customers, we continue to look for opportunities to collaborate with others across our industry and the NGO community to promote best practices. We participate and engage with organizations where issues related to animal welfare can be addressed industry-wide.

Addressing Issues in our Supply Chain

In the event concerns arise with the practices of a supplier, our approach is to work with them to correct the issues, but there are times when we halt business due to the nature of the issues and until adequate resolution takes place.

Commitment to Transparency

Starbucks is committed to transparent and ongoing disclosure of our progress towards achieving and maintaining our global Animal Welfare goals. We will publicly publish annual updates on our performance throughout our company-operated stores and provide information to industry organizations and other stakeholders as requested.