Capra Foods, based in Goldthwaite, Texas, has become what it says is the first U.S.-based lamb company to receive the Global Animal Partnership’s (GAP) Step 5 Animal Welfare rating. According to Capra, it received the highest rating ever issued to a commercial lamb program globally.
GAP, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization based in Austin, Texas, is one of the largest animal welfare certification labeling programs in North America. The GAP Certification process and labeling program makes it easier for consumers to identify ethically raised animals.
The 5 Step Animal Welfare certification process takes into consideration the living conditions, emotional well-being, management, handling, and care and diet of the animals for the entire life of the animal. To achieve the “Step 5” level, lambs and their parents must be raised on pasture for their entire lives. The ranches are inspected to ensure the animals are humanely handled and never receive any antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts. The lambs also are not castrated or tail docked.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work Capra Foods and their ranchers have done to achieve Step 5 certification,” said GAP Executive Director Anne Malleau. “Their dedication to animal welfare is something we’re excited to be helping explain to their customers.”
“We feel very pleased that our ranch partners have received the world’s highest ranking in animal welfare from GAP,” said Craig Jones, founder and managing partner of Capra Foods. “Our group of family ranches throughout Texas and beyond put a lot of time and effort into ensuring we raise our animals as nature intended—100 percent grass fed, free to roam on pasture and free from antibiotics. We feel motivated by both our personal values and by the increase in consumer demand from more discerning meat eaters who care about where their food comes from.”
Capra’s ranchers raise Dorper Sheep, a meat breed that produces no wool, which results in a leaner, milder taste versus traditional and imported lamb. They distribute their meat, marketed under the Capra Premium Dorper Lamb Brand, across America via health-oriented retailers, foodservice wholesalers and restaurants with a focus on sustainable sourcing.