Poultry producer Perdue Farms modifies its animal welfare policy

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Perdue Farms
Photo: Perdue Farms

Related tags Animal welfare Meat

Increasing the number of chicken houses with windows, providing chickens with more space, and raising and studying slower-growing chickens are among priorities Perdue Farms emphasized in its new animal welfare guide.

The company’s first annual report​ on its commitments to animal care outlines details of these welfare standard changes.

“We know that trust is earned by responding to consumers and other stakeholders, and that includes a willingness to make significant changes,”​ said Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms. “It’s not easy, and it requires commitment, resources and time. But people expect more from Perdue, and we have to keep improving.”​  

Other standards Perdue will require of its chicken farmers as well as processing facilities include more lights-off time for chickens to rest, and putting in stunning systems that minimize stress for birds headed to processing.

According to data from Nielsen, meat production claims—such as what type of feed animals were given, or the animal’s living conditions—drove meat sales growth​ in the 52 weeks ending November 2016. Meanwhile, sales of meat products (beef, pork, and poultry) with no claims at all were down.

Chicken welfare under the limelight

Looking at chickens specifically, a survey​ conducted by Mercy for Animals and NRG found that four out of five Americans want restaurants and grocers to put in policies that eliminate the worst forms of cruelty to chickens in their supply chains.

Perdue is the fourth largest poultry company in the US, representing seven percent of the nation’s chicken production. Its pledge indicates a sizeable shift away from industry status quo and “toward addressing customer and consumer concerns around animal welfare, including issues related to fast growth,”​ according to a statement from the company.

"Purdue's animal welfare improvements and its promise to meet the demands of companies with progressive animal welfare policies puts other poultry producers on notice,"​ said Brent Cox, vice president of corporate outreach at Mercy for Animals in a press release.

"It's time for Tyson Foods, Foster Farms, and others to catch up with business trends, consumer expectations, and the latest in animal welfare science by committing to GAP standards and eliminating the worst forms of animal abuse in their supply chains."

Perdue’s full animal care commitment report is HERE​.

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1 comment

Anything less than "free range" is inhumane

Posted by Janeway,

While I greatly appreciate that one of the largest poultry companies in this country is finally rising to the occasion with their own proactive policies of significantly improved animal welfare (albeit, primarily due to fear of 'bad press' that threatens bottom line), it is still viscerally difficult to fathom how their leadership could have dipped so low (inhumanely allowed, tolerated) such abhorrent cruelty IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I once lived on the Eastern Shore to see the boldly impressive extent of Perdue's gigantic operations "everywhere" and more recently met a fellow who while growing up in that locale, took his first job in one of their processing barns and while briefly starting to describe his tasks, I had to implore of him: "Oh, NO more!"

Not only because of this, but after too many sordid investigations over the years, I do not eat chicken and so do I boycott all brands who mass raise to mass process chickens because as is starkly similar to proverbial saying that "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" so has the TRUST for (or in) any of these gargantuan operations long been severely dashed.

In other words, as pertains to critical necessity of ethical authenticity or HUMANE CHARACTER, sometimes we (or any entity) only get ONE chance to "do things right" whether anyone is looking or not.

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