Perdue Farms Statement on Meeting Demand for Chicken Raised to Criteria Outlined in the “Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare Issues”
July 17, 2017
Perdue is proud of our animal welfare programs and the journey we are on to improve animal care. Over the last several months many of our customers have also announced their own animal welfare intentions. These include commitments to adhere to criteria outlined in the “Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare Issues” and to implement those changes in their purchasing programs by 2024.
Consistent with our history of listening to our consumers and customers, and in addition to our own initiatives, Perdue is committing to work side-by-side with these existing and future new customers to ensure that products from animals raised according to their committed standards will be available to meet their demand. These higher standards of care include:
- Transitioning to strains of birds approved by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) based on measurably improved welfare outcomes. We have been raising slower growing breeds since 2012 and in the past year have evaluated 11 different breeds for potential use in our programs.
- GAP has published a proposed timeline for studying this initiative and will publish the results in the Fall 2019.
- Reducing stocking density to a maximum of 6 pounds/square foot (per GAP standards), and prohibiting broiler cages. Thirty-four percent of our chickens are currently raised at or below 6.0 pounds per square foot, and all of our chickens are USDA Processed Verified to be raised cage-free, since 2010.
- Providing birds enriched environments including litter, lighting, and enrichments that meet GAP's new standards. More than 13 percent of our production currently meet these standards.
- Processing chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step controlled atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun. We currently use Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) in our turkey harvest facility. Perdue is the first major poultry company to commit to converting all of our chicken harvest facilities to Controlled Atmosphere Stunning, with the first installation scheduled to begin operation in December 2017.
- Demonstrating compliance with the above standards via third party auditing. Perdue was the first chicken company to receive the USDA Process Verified seal, letting consumers know that we meet specific quality standards on a consistent and ongoing basis as verified by the USDA and independent third-party audits.
Perdue is committed to helping customers bring these practices to fruition and will work hard to provide the quality and welfare standards to which these companies have committed.