Animal Care

Highlights Report 2021

Perdue Commitments to Animal Care:

Creating a Culture of Animal Care

Our Perdue Commitments to Animal Care, launched in 2016, is a four-part program to accelerate our progress in animal care by giving our chickens what they want, strengthening our relationships with our farmers, building trust with multiple stakeholder groups and creating an animal care culture for continuous improvement.

Our Position On Animal Care and Welfare

Our Position on Animal Care and Welfare

At Perdue Farms, our vision is “to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products®”. That trust extends to our animal care and welfare commitments, and we embrace our responsibility to ensure animals are treated with dignity and respect. In fact, animal welfare is an important part of our Company value of Stewardship.

Our standards for animal care are guided by the Five Freedoms, the globally accepted gold standard for animal husbandry, including:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and disease

For us, the Five Freedoms align with our animal care goal of going beyond giving animals what they need, to giving them what they want.

Our approach to 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.

We take a collaborative approach to animal care, adhering to strict requirements under the guidance of a team of veterinarians and animal welfare professionals, and input from third-party experts.

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 and ranchers who raise animals for us share in the responsibility to provide care according to our best practices and standards, and to alert us to any issues involving animal health or welfare. We regularly engage them for their input as part of our continuous improvement process.

All species that are raised and sourced for our brands and products are done so under the following standards:

  • The avoidance of confinement for all species.
  • No artificial or hormonal growth-promoting substances used, including beta antagonists or ractopamine.
  • Antibiotics will only be used when prescribed by a veterinarian with duration limits to ensure the best animal welfare for the animals.
  • An emphasis on the freedom to express natural behaviors through environmental enrichments suitable for each specific species.
  • Animals raised and sourced throughout our operations have not been subject to any genetic modification or are derived from cloned stock.
  • The avoidance of routine activities such as tail docking, teeth clipping/grinding on pigs, beak trimming on poultry and tail docking on cows.
  • Travel times for all poultry and livestock are kept to a minimum and our goal is to not exceed eight hours.
  • Animals that are rendered insensible prior to being harvested.
  • Compliance with all legislative standards and raising and sourcing all animals from animal welfare organizations such as Global Animal Partnership, Certified Humane, American Humane, USDA Certified Organic, United Egg Producers certified, National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management and USDA Processed Verified.

At Perdue Farms, we take pride in being an industry leader in animal care and remain committed to our journey of continuous improvement and doing the right things for the right reasons.  

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Part 1:
Our Chickens' Needs and Wants

Our Progress

Part 2:
Our Farmer

Our Progress

Part 3:
Openness, Transparency and Trust

Our Progress

Part 4:
A Journey of Continuous Improvement

Our Progress


Part 1: Our Chickens' Needs and Wants

Perdue will evaluate and implement production systems specifically designed to go beyond just the “needs” of our chickens to also include what our chickens “want.” We will chart our progress against the “Five Freedoms.”

Freedom From Hunger & Thirst and Discomfort

Freedom From Pain, Injury and Disease

Freedom To Express Normal Behavior

Freedom From Fear and Distress

1 and 2. Freedom From Hunger & Thirst and Discomfort

We are continuing to study the feasibility and potential benefit of On-Farm Hatching (OFH) to improve early chick care. We are exploring whether reducing the time between chick hatch and access to feed and water using the OFH system versus conventional hatch methods has merit. We will conduct additional trials to determine if incubation conditions affect hatchability and chick quality.

Our Full Report

3. Freedom From Pain, Injury and Disease

We are working to better understand the challenges of birds grown to heavier weights and whether pre-shipment or early chick water supplementation for nutritional and/or stress support is more beneficial than vitamins and electrolytes.

We continue to improve our culling programs through improvements in egg supply and handling, and hatchery operational and sanitation standard operating procedures.

Our Full Report

4. Freedom To Express Normal Behavior

Following up on our 2019 farmer contest to identify free-range and organic farmers who get the most birds outside, 53 farmers signed up to participate in a new two-year contest in 2020 that challenges them to develop new ideas and tips for increasing range utilization. The contest engages farmers in improving free range usage by identifying management changes and “hacks” that encourage more chickens to go outdoors.

We established a “Free Range Utilization scorecard to that focus on attributes we know allow birds to use the pasture, including on-farm management practices, house direction, bird access doors and ramps, and access to water, shade and enrichments in the pasture.

Our Full Report

5. Freedom From Fear and Distress

We are on track this year to select and begin installation of a second Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) system as part of our commitment to move all harvest operations to CAS to induce insensibility with minimal trauma.

Our Full Report

Our Key Steps Forward from 2021

Establishing a “Free Range Utilization” technique that allows us to measure pasture utilization in our free range housing.

Expanding our farmer animal care incentive program

Continue to test the feasibility and benefits of on-farm hatching to improve early chick care

Launching our third farmer contest to tap into their experience and expertise in raising chickens

Creating our first Young Farmers Development Group to help foster the next generation of farmers and uphold our commitment to building stronger relationships with our farmers  

Holding our fifth Animal Care Summit, bringing together virtually animal care experts and advocates, customers, farmers, and our leadership, in October 2020. We held our sixth summit in October 2021.


Animal Care Summit 2021 Highlights


Animal Care Summit 2021

Strengthening Farmer Relationships Through Our New Young Farmer Development Group

We Are Strengthening Farmer Relationships Through Our New Young Farmer Development Group

Learn What We Are Doing With On-Farm Hatch System Research


Learn How Free-Range Paster Contest Winner Gets More Birds Outside

Using Radio Frequency Identification Technology To Understand How and When Birds Go In Free-Range Pasture

We’re Using Radio Frequency Identification Technology To Under How and When Birds Go In Free-Range Pasture

Learn About The Benefits Of Our Pasture-Raised Chicken System

Learn About The Benefits Of Our Pasture-Raised Chicken System

Animal Care Summit 2020 Highlights


Animal Care Summit 2020 Highlights

Learn How Free-Range Pasture Contest Winner Gets More Birds Outside

Learn How Free-Range Paster Contest Winner Gets More Birds Outside

Learn About Our 2019 Farmer Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest

2019 Farmer Chicken Welfare Enrichment Design Contest

We're Advancing Beyond the Status Quo

We're Advancing Beyond the Status Quo

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