ADDING MULTIMEDIA Perdue Announces Industry-First Animal Care Commitments

Plan expands definition of animal care and re-commits to farmer

SALISBURY, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Perdue Foods today announced a renewed focus on animal care, a
continuation of its focus on premium, trusted brands that meet evolving
consumer expectations. Chairman Jim Perdue shared the company’s
commitments to animal care, a four-part plan that will accelerate its
progress in animal care, strengthen relationships with farmers, build
trust with multiple stakeholder groups and create an animal care culture
for continued improvement.

Titled 2016 and Beyond: Next Generation of Perdue Commitments to
Animal Care
, the plan was developed with input from stakeholders
such as farmers, academics and leaders of animal advocate organizations
who were invited by Perdue to help shape this progressive animal care
plan that sets new industry standards.

“As we continue to learn about innovative and better ways to raise
animals through our No Antibiotics Ever journey and our experience in
raising organic chickens, we are adopting a four-part plan which will
result in changing how we raise chickens,” said Chairman Jim Perdue.
“Transparency is very important to Perdue consumers, who are interested
knowing how we raise, care for and harvest our chickens. Our vision is
to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products and animal
care is a big part of that journey.”

“Poultry production as a whole has made great progress in keeping
chickens healthy; however, we can improve by implementing policies that
go beyond meeting chickens’ basic needs. We want to create an
environment where chickens can express normal behaviors,” said Bruce
Stewart-Brown, DVM, Perdue’s senior vice president of food safety,
quality and live production. “Over the past five years, we’ve been
exposed to and learned some husbandry techniques associated with organic
production. And, through the brands that have recently joined our
company, we’ve been able to learn from some of the pioneers of a more
holistic approach to animal well-being. When we talked to farmers they
responded very positively to these improved husbandry methods. In
addition, we hear from consumers that how animals raised for food are
treated is important to them.”

The first major company to commit to implementing such progressive
practices in raising and harvesting animals system-wide, Perdue’s
Commitments to Animal Care goes well beyond most other companies’
commitments to encompass not only the animals but the people who care
for and handle them, as well as stakeholders who have an interest in
this area.

Perdue’s four Commitments to Animal Care

The Perdue Commitments to Animal Care summarizes current progress
and details next generation initiatives for each part of the plan.
Perdue is putting program measurements in place, including audits by
third parties, and will release an annual report announcing its progress
in reaching specific goals.

Specifically the four-part plan commits to:

  • The wants and needs of the animals
    Based on The Five
    Freedoms, an internationally recognized standard for animal husbandry,
    Perdue’s commitment document lays out where the company is today on
    each of the five aspects as well as future goals. For instance, the
    majority of chickens today are raised in fully enclosed barns without
    natural light. Perdue is committed to retrofitting 200 chicken houses
    with windows by the end of 2016 to compare bird health and activity to
    enclosed housing.
  • The farmers that raise the chickens
    Appreciating that
    chickens spend most of their time in the care of farmers, the plan
    stresses improved relationships with farmers. This includes creating
    an open dialogue about best practices in animal care, considering the
    farmer’s well-being and connecting animal care to pay and incentives.
  • Openness, transparency and trust
    The plan also calls for
    Perdue to be open to criticism of its current policies and procedures
    when deserved, share information about animal care initiatives, and
    proactively engage with a wide variety of animal welfare stakeholders,
    including advocates, academics and animal care experts.
  • A journey of continuous improvement
    The fourth part of the
    plan commits to ongoing learning and advancements in the company’s
    animal care programs to ensure the health and well-being of its birds
    through next-generation initiatives. This commitment will be driven by
    Perdue’s active Animal Care Council, which has been in place for more
    than 15 years.

“Our four commitments have one goal and that is continued improvement in
animal care. We know we’re not where we want to be yet but we want to
allow others to take the journey with us,” said Stewart-Brown.

“From lessons learned from organic chicken houses, it’s clear that there
can be a general health benefit with increased activity—and that is a
big focus of our plan. Short-term goals that support increased activity
include window installations in 200 existing poultry houses by the end
of 2016 and studying the role of enrichments such as perches and bales
of hay to encourage activity. Our goal is to double the activity of our
chickens in the next three years.”

“I think it’s wonderful that Perdue is taking these initiatives. We’re
almost going back in time with what we’re doing, and putting the
chickens back in a more natural state. I think we’re moving in the right
direction making sure these birds are in a more natural habitat, and
they’re more content,” said Georgie Cartanza, a 10-year poultry farmer
from Camden, Delaware.

Animal advocacy groups such as Compassion in World Farming, Mercy For
Animals and The Humane Society of the United States commended
Perdue for taking this major step.

Retailers such as BJ’s Wholesale Club also expressed their support for
this initiative.

Perdue: Leading the evolution of Americans’ dinner plates

Perdue has quietly excelled at stewardship for years. As consumers
increasingly consider the origin of their food, the scale of Perdue’s
commitments to animal care will further conversations around responsible
food production from the farmer to the consumer, and bring progressive
raising practices into the mainstream.

Perdue’s renewed focus on animal care is a continuation of its nearly
100-year history of listening to customers and commitment to meeting
consumer expectations for the food they share with their families.

“We are only just getting started. Our animal care plan is not a static
document – it is an ongoing journey focused on learning, listening and
responding to further advance how we care for animals as well as how we
will continue to strengthen our relationship with the farmers who raise
our chickens,” said Perdue. “It’s not the cheapest or easiest way to
produce food; it’s the Perdue way.”

About Perdue Farms

Perdue Farms is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for everyone
we touch through innovative food and agricultural products. Since our
beginning on Arthur Perdue’s farm in 1920, to our expansion into
agribusiness and the introduction of the PERDUE® brand of chicken and
turkey under Frank Perdue, and continuing with our third generation of
leadership with Chairman Jim Perdue, we’ve remained family owned and
family operated. We are the parent company of Perdue Foods and Perdue
AgriBusiness. Through our PERDUE®, PERDUE® SIMPLY SMART®, PERDUE®
brands; agricultural products and services; and stewardship and
corporate responsibility programs, we are working to become the
most-trusted name in food and agricultural products. Learn more about
Perdue Farms at


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Susie Gilden, 786-897-5988
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Julie DeYoung, 410-341-2193