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.