Animal Care

Highlights Report 2019

Perdue Commitments to Animal Care:

A Journey of Continuous Improvement

The Perdue Commitments to Animal Care is a four-part program to accelerate our progress in animal care by giving our chickens what they need and want, strengthening farmer relationships, building trust with multiple stakeholder groups and creating an animal care culture for continuous improvement. Each year, we report on our progress and the initiatives we're undertaking under each of these four parts.

Progress

Part 1:
Our Chickens' Needs and Wants

Our Progress
Farmers

Part 2:
Our Farmer
Relationships

Our Progress
Trust

Part 3:
Openness, Transparency and Trust

Our Progress
Improvement

Part 4:
A Journey of Continuous Improvement

Our Progress

Progress

Part 1: Our Chickens' Needs and Wants

As we progress from meeting the needs of our chickens to providing for their wants, we're charting our progress using the Five Freedoms.

Freedom From Hunger and Thirst

Freedom From Discomfort

Freedom From Pain, Injury and Disease

Freedom To Express Normal Behavior

Freedom From Fear and Distress

1. Freedom From Hunger and Thirst

We will study issues at parent breeders, including weight management approaches in the pullet house.

Our Full Report

2. Freedom From Discomfort

Through changes in the chicken house environment, our farmers achieved a 9.3 percent improvement in paw (foot) quality scores and we saw more consistency in paw quality over the course of the year.

Our 2019 goal is to maintain at or exceed 70 percent “good paws” through the winter time period.

To improve the comfort of birds while they are transported from the farm, in 2018 we began temperature-profiling live-haul trailer interiors during loading, transporting and holding to help provide a framework for future initiatives.

We'll investigate if early chick care is better done in a nursery versus on the farm.

Our Full Report

3. Freedom From Pain, Injury and Disease

Third-party video monitoring and auditing at our chicken harvest facilities and in chicken catching are helping ensure our chickens are handled properly. As an added level of assurance, we conducted our own unannounced video audits in three areas.

We're putting added emphasis on leg health, conducting weekly leg health assessments and charting gait scores.

We're improving our culling programs and developed a new culling Standard Operating Procedure and training for all flock advisors and farmers.

We're studying mechanical chicken catching compared with conventional hand catching of chickens for harvest.

We'll study and issue a report on the animal care challenges special to chickens raised to heavier weights.

All live-haul personnel will be trained and certified in a third-party Poultry Handling and Transportation program by June 2020.

Our Full Report

4. Freedom To Express Normal Behavior

We continue to study alternative breeds this year and developed a behavior rating system to identify behavioral tendencies of different breeds.

We studied the effect of additional space on behavior, including activity level and type, enrichments use, bird performance, and whether feeder space affects bird feeding behavior.

Following our belief that more-active chickens are healthier chickens, we continue to progress toward our goal of increased bird activity in our chicken houses. This year we studied enrichments to see if they further increase activity beyond that provided by natural light.

We exceeded our goal to have windows in 35 percent of houses raising our chickens and now have windows in 48 percent of houses.

We're continuing to expand the number of farms with free-range, outdoor access with a goal of 25 percent of houses having outdoor access by January 2020.

We asked farmers to design better enrichments for our chickens through the Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest and received innovative designs.

Our Full Report

5. Freedom From Fear and Distress

We added a higher-welfare transportation system to support the controlled-atmosphere stunning (CAS) system at our Milford, Del., harvest plant. The switch to higher-welfare catching drawers eliminates the step of transferring conscious birds from the transport modules to a moving conveyor.

We'll install a second CAS system within 24 months.

We began studying an environmentally controlled lairage area to reduce stress on chickens after transport to the plant.

Our Full Report

Progress

Part 1:
Our Chickens' Needs and Wants

Farmers

Part 2:
Our Farmer
Relationships

Trust

Part 3:
Openness, Transparency and Trust

Improvement

Part 4:
A Journey of Continuous Improvement

Our Key Steps Forward from 2018

We again made substantial improvement in paw (foot) health over the winter months, indicating we're providing a better environment for the chickens.

We continue to actively study and learn about alternative breeds, both to meet growing customer demand for higher-welfare chickens and to identify the traits that contribute to healthier chickens.

We have not yet reached our goal of doubling chicken activity but better understand the contributions of windows, enrichments and space in encouraging more movement. We continued to increase the number of chicken houses with windows, exceeding our 2018 goal.

We developed a certification plan to provide chickens that meet the 2024 criteria outlined in the “Joint Animal Protection Organization Statement on Broiler Chicken Welfare Issues” for customers who desire them.

We asked farmers to participate in a Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest, looking for a “farmer-designed, chicken-approved” in-house enrichment. They responded with innovative and compelling designs that will help us move enriched chicken houses forward within Perdue.

We held our third Animal Care Summit, bringing together animal care experts and advocates, customers, farmers and our leadership, in July 2018. Our fourth summit will be held in July 2019.

Hear from the People Who Care for Our Chickens

Hear from the People Who Care for Our Chickens Video

We're Advancing Beyond the Status Quo

We're Advancing Beyond the Status Quo Video

Learn about our Farmer Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest

Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest Video

What Others Say About the Perdue Commitments to Animal Care

Animal Welfare Advocates

Animal Welfare Advocates

"Perdue has become the leading major poultry producer in shifting toward more humane practices. Perdue is reflecting consumer sentiment that all animalsincluding farm animalsshould be protected from pain by their work to address these issues in a meaningful, transparent and collaborative way."

Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States

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Animal Welfare Advocates

Farmers Raising Our Chickens

"When we are able to let poultry have access to sunlight, fresh air or an opportunity to be outside when feasible, we show that, though we are growing an animal as a food source, we understand the instincts and needs for such basic pleasures. I am proud to say I work in partnership with a company that values the creatures in our care."

Steven Brake (North Carolina)

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Corporate Stewardship Report

Company Stewardship Report

Learn about the steps we're taking to reach our goal of becoming the most-trusted name in food and agricultural products.

Consumer Brands
Perdue
Perdue Simply Smart Organics
Perdue Harvestland
Coleman Natural
Draper Valley
Petaluma Poultry
Praire Grove Farms
Niman Ranch
Panorama Meats
Spot Farms Pet
Full Moon Pet
Business to Business
Perdue Foodservice
Perdue Foods
Perdue Foods International
Perdue agriBusiness