Animal Health and Well-Being

Our Standard of Care

Kunoa is committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality beef available. An essential part of this commitment is the standard of care that we uphold for each animal we raise, harvest, and process. It’s part of our overall mission to do right by our land, animals, and communities, and these efforts have earned us several nationally recognized certifications from leading third-party nonprofit organizations.

Responsible Sourcing: While we raise several thousand of our own cattle from start to finish on Kauai grasslands, we also partner with dozens of trusted ranchers across Hawaii to source cattle. These relationships support a sustainable ranching environment, preserve open space, and contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

All partner cattle must meet Kunoa’s core qualifications:

  • 100% Hawaii-grown, from birth to finishing
  • No added hormones
  • No antibiotics
  • Pasture raised

Kunoa is working with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA®) and its Shop With Your Heart initiative, which helps customers opt for certified products over factory-farmed meat, eggs, and dairy. This effort helps us set meaningful goals for our partners as well, by working with them to achieve third-party animal welfare certifications, in addition to meeting our stringent qualifications.

Additionally, both our Kauai ranch and Oahu harvest and processing facility are Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) by A Greener World, an independent Oregon-based organization that promotes verified farming practices and encourages food choices that deliver positive impacts for the environment, society, and animals.

Several of our partners have achieved a Step 4 rating with the Global Animal Partnership (GAP), a Texas-based nonprofit organization of farmers, scientists, retailers, manufacturers, and animal advocates – all collaborating with a common purpose: improving farm animal welfare. The 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rating Program promotes and facilitates continuous improvement in animal agriculture, encourages welfare-friendly farming practices, and informs consumers about the animal farming systems they choose to support.

By the end of 2021, our goal is to have all Kunoa-branded fresh beef products sourced from ranches and farms that have earned at least one of the following certifications: Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World; Step 2 or greater by the Global Animal Partnership; or Certified Humane Raised & Handled by Humane Farm Animal Care, a Virginia-based nonprofit certification organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production.

Appropriate Handling: Our rotational grazing model requires constant management, moving cattle from paddock to paddock, which familiarizes them with human contact. We will periodically run our herds through corrals to conduct pregnancy checks and vaccinate, weigh, and tag each animal. We train our team in low-stress handling to recognize signs of animal discomfort and minimize the stress response during this process, which can affect their well-being, weight, and meat quality.

We are also proud to process only those animals that have been raised and finished in Hawaii. This significantly improves the state’s food security and sustainability, and enhances the quality of life for animals that were formerly transported thousands of miles to U.S. mainland feedlots for finishing.

When ready for harvest, our animals are transported on specially constructed livestock containers from our Kauai ranch to our Oahu harvest and processing facility – an approximately 100-mile journey. We make every effort to reduce stress during this period and have an area for cattle to rest and graze prior to harvest.

Compassionate Treatment: Our animals have year-round access to vegetative grasses in open pasture. As a result of these optimal conditions, we rarely experience an animal illness or death. On occasion, we will cull or treat an animal as needed. Any animal that receives antibiotic treatment is removed from the herd and not sold as Kunoa beef.

In 2016, when we purchased Oahu’s only USDA-inspected harvest and processing facility, we implemented numerous upgrades, including the purchase of a start-of-the-art device known as the ASPCA Pen (the design rights were purchased and distributed by the APSCA in the 1960s). This device promotes precision delivery of USDA-approved animal stunning. Team members are trained in appropriate stunning methods and constantly monitored by USDA inspectors.

Transparent Labeling: We tell you exactly what you’re getting, every time. That means packaging that is clear and easy to understand with no misleading labeling or wording on any of our materials. Here are a few of the words we use often, and what they mean:

  • Grass fed: Our cattle are raised their entire lives on nearly several thousand acres of pastureland with a healthy mix of grasses.
  • Regenerative agriculture: We use rotational grazing practices that improve the quality of the soil, carbon sequestration, and water quality. Our holistic-oriented approach means that we look at the impact of everything we do on our land, animals, and communities. Kunoa has been selected as a Hub Candidate with The Savory Institute, the world’s leading think tank on grassland regeneration.
  • Pasture raised (Hawaii grown): Our cattle are raised their entire lives on open pastures in Hawaii with plenty of room to roam, as opposed to conventional ranching practices, which commonly incorporate feedlots. We have earned the Hawai‘i Seal of Quality from the State of Hawaii, which certifies that our products are Hawaii grown.
  • Clean protein: When you eat Kunoa products, whether it is our ground beef, cuts, or packaged shelf-stable snacks, you are eating meat that has been raised with your health and the health of the animal and the environment in mind.
  • No added hormones or antibiotics: Our meats are free of added hormones and antibiotics. Quite simply, our cattle don’t need them. They are raised on open pastures the way nature intended, and grow naturally on native forages.

We welcome you to visit us on our social media channels, where we frequently share photos and video of our herds on the ranch. If you have any questions about our animal health and well-being efforts or operations, please contact us.