See the details in our Company Stewardship Report.
Treating animals with respect means going beyond the minimum to keep animals healthy and to produce safe food. We view animal care as a journey of continuous improvement, evolving with advancements in animal husbandry and behavior, consumer questions and public concerns. This responsibility stretches across all of our raising programs and is shared by the farm families we trust to raise animals for us.
Our programs are designed so that we can raise animals in a reduced-stress environment where we don’t need to rely on human or animal antibiotics to keep them healthy, and we never use drugs for growth promotion or artificial growth promoters.
100%of chickens, turkeys, hogs, cows and sheep are raised under no-antibiotics-ever protocols
100%of hog, cattle and lamb production are third-party verified humane animal care
100%of animals are raised under documented responsible care protocols
100%of animals are
100% of turkeys and hogs are controlled- atmosphere stunned
100%of farmers and associates handling live animals receive welfare training
52%of poultry houses have windows
26%of poultry houses have
25%of poultry houses have
FREEToll-Free # hotline to report welfare violations
USDAProcess Verified Programs for
Perdue Farms is committed to the avoidance of confinement through all species. As of July 2021:
At Perdue Farms, we recognize that providing animals with appropriate, species-specific environmental enrichments can improve their living conditions and help encourage their natural behaviors. As of July 2021:
Perdue Farms is committed to the routine avoidance of activities such as tail docking of pigs and cows, debeaking of chickens and toenail conditioning of turkeys. As of July 2021:
Our objective is to ensure that all animal species, including chicken, turkey, pork, beef, dairy cows, and lamb, are rendered insensible prior to being harvested. As of July 2021:
Travel times for all poultry and livestock are kept to a minimum and our goal is to not exceed eight hours. As of July 2021:
Our beef, lamb and pork programs are incorporating additional welfare outcome measurements, including a commitment to reduce lameness. Baselines, targeted improvements, and reporting will be established in the coming year.
*All species raised and sourced for Perdue Farms brands.
Perdue Farms hosted its fifth annual Animal Care Summit, held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, in October 2020. Since announcing the company’s Commitments to Animal Care in 2016, the summit has been a key part of Perdue’s animal care strategy.
“Entering our company’s second century, we are proud to continue making advancements and leading our industry in the standards to which we raise our animals,” said Mark McKay, President of Perdue Poultry and Meat. “Strong animal husbandry and stewardship keep our animals healthier and, importantly, we believe translate to a better product for consumers.”
During the 2020 meeting, Perdue subject-matter experts shared the latest updates on the company’s industry-leading animal welfare goals and initiatives, including:
A panel of poultry farmers from Delaware, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania discussed their experiences growing free-range chickens for Perdue, including the importance of maintaining a consistent routine, the birds’ inclination to spend time outside, and how they deal with challenges such as protecting the animals from predators. The farmers also discussed their pride in producing food for the nation and shared insights on Perdue’s response throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Perdue’s Animal Care program now includes nearly 70 initiatives within the company’s four-part plan to accelerate its progress in poultry care. Established in 2016, the four-part plan includes:
As part of our pledge "to be transparent in our programs, goal and progresses," we committed to share key animal care metrics, openly criticize ourselves when appropriate, and honestly and respectfully answer those who constructively criticize us.
Sixteen farmers participated in a contest developed as part of Perdue’s ongoing efforts to engage the independent farm families who care for its chickens in the company’s journey to maintain our industry leadership in animal welfare. The first Chicken Welfare Free-Range Pasture Contest tapped farmers’ knowledge and experience in getting the most chickens to go outside, enabling them “to do what chickens naturally do.”
Third-generation farmer Andrew McLean of Centreville, MD., who has raised organic chickens for Perdue since 2015, won the contest and its $2,000 first-place prize. “When Perdue put out the call for the contest, I thought it fit what I’m doing here very aptly. I’ve always had a lot of chickens coming out and I enjoy seeing them come out and do what chickens naturally do. I’m very happy to tell people about how I do it,” said McLean.
Some of the techniques McLean has implemented include allowing grass to grow at different heights to provide habitat for birds of different ages and planting fruit trees in his pasture, which provide shade and an additional feed source.
Farmers participating in the contest filmed their birds outside in the free-range pasture and provided insights and data on the techniques they believed were most effective in enticing birds outside, such as the types of ramps they use, their routines, landscaping and more.
Today, Perdue is raising more than 25% of its chickens with outdoor access and continues to expand that number.
As Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, Perdue’s senior vice president of technical services and innovation, explains, “Long-term, we don’t just want to increase the number of houses with pastures, we want to increase the number of birds using that pasture. At Perdue, our family farmers are experts at raising healthy and happy chickens, and that’s why we try to learn from them and invite them to help us improve our animal welfare practices across the board. We look forward to sharing their knowledge and expertise with other farmers and seeing the positive impact on creating a better environment for our chickens.”
In 2021, Perdue will hold a second free-range contest to engage farmers in increasing the number of chickens using the pasture. Results will be announced in August 2022.
“Perdue is demonstrating its continued leadership in the poultry industry. This trajectory of an increased percentage of barns providing outdoor access — along with its work increasing the number of its barns with windows and environmental enrichments — improves the quality of life of the birds and sets a bar where other major players in the poultry industry should go.” — Josh Balk, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States.
As part of its commitment to transparency about animal care, Perdue Farms is partnering with social-media-active farmers to help increase their visibility and share their stories with more people. Five Perdue Farms family farmers - Kenny Young (@KTYoungFarm), Laura Landis (@WorthTheWaitFarm), Val Nasir (@followvalsflock), Tara Green (@greengatefarmers_wife) and Bobbi Jo Webber (@WebberFamilyFarm) - are creating social media content including educational pieces about raising chickens as well as stories about their history, farms, families and animals. They are passionate about farming, raising animals thoughtfully and always going the extra mile to produce a better- tasting product, and enjoy educating their followers on social media about their work and what it takes to feed America.
By using the hashtags #PerdueProud and #PerdueFarms_FarmerAdvocate, their posts are shared across Perdue’s social media properties, enlightening Perdue Farms’ followers and reaching a wider audience for their information.
The farmers periodically receive product samples from multiple Perdue brands for fun unboxing videos, as well as product bundles and gift certificates to help engage their audiences.
Look for our farmer advocates on all the Perdue social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and TikTok.
North Carolina poultry farmer Steven Brake debuted a new Poultry Learning Center at his family farm in 2020. The new educational facility hosts students and other guests in the community who would like to know more about poultry farming and provide educational information on topics such as biosecurity, poultry feed, house management, and bird health.
Brake, a second-generation poultry farmer, has been growing chickens for Perdue since 1995 and his four daughters are each involved in the family business. In 2020, the family built and opened an educational center in one of their chicken houses that includes a large viewing room where guests and students can observe and learn about the birds undisturbed in their environment.
The Brakes are the third Perdue farm family to open a Poultry Learning Center on their farm. They were inspired to construct theirs after learning about similar projects from other Perdue farmers at the company’s annual Animal Care Summit in 2019.
“I realized the importance of sharing who we are as farmers and how we care for our animals, because there is a lot of misinformation out there,” said Steven Brake, Perdue Farms poultry farmer. “We love what we do and want to help inform both adults and kids about where their food comes from. It’s one thing to tell people what we do; it’s more meaningful if we can let them see it for themselves.”
Brake has focused on making his family’s Learning Center educational for students of all ages. He and the farm’s Live Production Manager, Crystal, collaborate to give tours to local elementary, middle, and high school classes, agriculture and animal science students from Edgecombe Community College, and bioengineering students at North Carolina State University. Brake’s sister, Vickie, who is a teacher, helped create one-of-akind teaching standards that work in congruence with the tours so that teachers can create relevant curriculums and tests for their classes.
“These field trips are a great way to get kids out of the classroom and gives us a chance to show them what poultry farming is about. That’s our purpose: we want to educate. Teachers can download the educational standards for their curriculums, teach it in the classroom, and even give tests after the farm tour,” said Brake.