SALISBURY, Md. – During its annual Animal Care Summit this past month, officials with Perdue Farms reaffirmed its commitments and outlined its latest initiatives to improve broiler welfare to attendees of the annual event, including representatives from animal rights organizations, animal care researchers and experts and customers from the foodservice and retail segments. The third Annual Perdue Animal Care Summit coincided with the company animal care report.

In its 2018 report, Perdue committed to adding windows to all of its chicken production houses, based on research the company conducted that concluded the birds benefit from natural light. The company also plans to transition to controlled atmosphere stunning at its processing plants as well as implementing a system to reduce stress in chickens during the catching and transporting process. Identifying breeds of birds that appeal to customers seeking higher welfare chickens was also a priority mentioned in the report. Increasing communication and ensuring transparency throughout the supply chain were also part of the commitments mentioned in the report, including incentives for producers based on animal welfare outcomes and a system for farmers to rank their relationship with the company. The company additionally committed to publishing animal welfare auditing results and animal care incidents. 

Jim Perdue, chairman, said the annual event provides the company with the feedback that is reflected in current and future initiatives related to animal welfare. 

“We moved beyond the basics of food, water, shelter and protection from disease to consider not only what chickens need, but what they want,” Perdue said. He also referenced the influence of “The Five Freedoms,” a globally accepted standard for animal welfare, in developing the commitments. “Since 2016, we’ve seen more companies talking about the Five Freedoms - but embracing the Five Freedoms takes more than talk, it takes change.”