Perdue's contrite response

by Lawrence Aylward
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SALISBURY, Md. – More than a week after Mercy for Animals posted an undercover video depicting an employee of a contract farmer for Perdue Farms abusing chickens, Perdue issued a statement thanking Mercy for Animals, a Los Angeles-based animal rights group, “for uncovering clear animal abuse by an individual on a farm raising our chickens, and we appreciate law enforcement’s prompt action against the perpetrator.”

Perdue also said it needed to improve its oversight, training and practices around day-to-day care of its animals. An undercover video, uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 9 by Mercy for Animals, depicted a poultry worker stomping on chickens and throwing them at a wall. According to the Richmond County Daily Journal, the employee, Danny Cajija Miranda, is employed by Deese Farms, a contract grower for Salisbury, Md.-based Perdue. He faces felony animal cruelty charges.

Vandhana Bala of Mercy for Animals filed a report with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 15, according to the Daily Journal.

Perdue said it shares the goals of preventing animal abuse and improving poultry care with Mercy for Animals. “As a company, Perdue is committed to continuous improvement, and as with our journey toward being the leader in No Antibiotics Ever, we are actively seeking to improve the way we raise chickens,” the company added.

Perdue said it recently created a new vice president level position within the company, chief animal welfare officer, and appointed Mike Levengood, who has worked at Perdue for 31 years, to the position.

“Mike is leading our efforts to improve animal care and to develop close relationships with the farmers who care for those animals,” Perdue concluded in its statement.
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