Our animal care and welfare programs encompass all phases, including breeder operations, hatchery, appropriate comfort and shelter on the farms, comprehensive veterinary care and health monitoring, nutrition, catching, transportation and harvesting.
All of our animals for our products are raised:
- Without the use of crates or cages, including gestation and farrowing crates for sows
- Without drugs for growth promotion (Federal law prohibits the use of hormones and steroids in poultry and pork, and we also don’t use any growth promoting drugs, including beta antagonists or ractopamine.)
- With an emphasis on the freedom to express natural behaviors
- On an all-vegetarian-diet with no animal by-products
- In audited and verified animal care programs.
Our approach animal care is a process of continuous improvement involving a wide range of stakeholders, with a commitment to transparency. We believe that welfare goes beyond meeting the physical needs of animals and that success is measured by more than efficiency and productivity. This includes our Perdue Commitments to Animal Care program, an ongoing effort that is changing the way we raise chickens.
Mistreatment or abuse of animals is never tolerated. All associates handling live animals are provided training including their responsibility to report any violations of our animal welfare policies. The farmers who raise animals for us share equal responsibility to provide care according to our best practices and standards, and to alert us to any issues involving animal health or welfare.
As part of our commitment to meeting the demand for chickens raised to higher welfare standards, we continue to study alternative and slower-growing chicken breeds.
Responsibly Raising Animals
We use different raising programs to meet the varying expectations of our customers and consumers. We responsibly manage each of these programs, striving to assure that appropriate animal care is provided. All of our programs follow established Best Practices and our Guiding Principles.
Our Best Practices are based on the following principles:
- The internationally accepted “Five Freedoms” as applied to raising animals.
- Poultry care practices should balance scientific knowledge and professional judgement with consideration of ethical and social values.
- The actual care of animals should be foremost, not how humans might perceive a practice or farm environment.
- Animals should be treated with respect throughout their lives and provided a humane death when processed for food or when they are euthanized for any reason.
To ensure continuous improvement and compliance to our current programs, our activities follow these Guiding Principles:
- All Perdue associates and contractors who handle live animals will have formal welfare training.
- We have a Chief Animal Care Officer assigned for oversight of our USDA Processed Verified Program for Animal Care (PAACO certified), which is fully supported by our Board and senior management.
- We have poultry care officers located in both live and plant operations to lead the effort to maintain our animal care standards.
- Internal and external audits of our procedures will be performed regularly to further strengthen our commitment and to guarantee continuous improvement of our processes.
- We will have oversight from the Perdue Animal Care Council, composed of Perdue managers to provide corporate oversight and leadership. The council is also charged with reviewing recent advances in animal care and acts as a liaison with outside animal welfare experts.