This week, the fourth-largest poultry producer in the country revealed plans to institute a number of reforms that focus on improving the lives of the chickens in their operations. Animal rights groups such as the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and Mercy For Animals are hailing the announcement as an important step forward for an industry that has been plagued by ethical concerns in recent years.
In fact, these two organizations worked together with Perdue to develop the reforms and establish plans for the company’s future.
The most significant reform adopted by Perdue will replace the live-shackle slaughter method with the more humane Controlled Atmosphere Stunning method. This technique renders chickens unconscious with inert gas prior to slaughter, eliminating the stress and suffering associated with live-shackle slaughter.
In addition to this shift in policy, Perdue has pledged to provide quality-of-life improvements such as windows, perches and hay bales to their facilities. They’ve also increased the amount of space that will be allotted for each bird in these facilities. The HSUS estimates that these changes will improve the lives of roughly 700 million birds that are raised and slaughtered by the company each year.
Finally, Perdue has also expressed a commitment to testing slow-growing birds that could live healthier, more comfortable lives than their fast-growing counterparts. Currently, broiler chickens are bred to grow so quickly that they sometimes collapse under their own weight or suffer heart attacks. Now, animal rights groups are hoping that Perdue’s announcement will compel other poultry producers to take similar steps as well.
“Perdue’s leadership will also hopefully inspire other companies to adopt similar meaningful animal welfare requirements,” said Mercy for animals president Nathan Runkle in a press release. “It’s now time for Tyson, Foster Farms, and others to stop dragging their feet and reduce the needless pain and suffering animals endure on factory farms and in slaughterhouses.”
Stay tuned for more updates from the Cackle Coop!