SALISBURY, Md. — Perdue farms hosted its seventh annual Animal Care Summit near its Maryland headquarters this year after two years of holding the annual event virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the company’s announcement Animal Welfare Commitments In 2016, the summit was an important part of Perdue’s animal welfare strategy.
“At Perdue Farms, we’re proud to continue to advance in our second century of doing business and to lead our industry in the standards to which we raise our animals,” said Mark McKay, President of Perdue Premium Poultry and Meats. “Animal care and stewardship, including strong connections with our farmers and transparency with our stakeholders, keeps our animals healthier and we believe this translates into a better product for consumers.”
Animal husbandry and stewardship keeps our animals healthier and we believe this results in a better product for consumers.Tweet this
During the 2022 event, attendees, including NGOs, farmers, customers, academia and Perdue employees, toured the company’s dedicated research farm to see first-hand progress from ongoing animal husbandry studies, including:
- pasture choice: Planting different vegetation in outdoor pastures to study which options attract birds the most, as part of ongoing research to entice birds with outdoor access to spend more time outdoors (Watch a video here).
- Feed selection: Instead of giving chicken feeds with an all-in-one diet, we gave birds the option to choose between diets with higher protein and higher energy components (e.g. carbohydrates) and examined what they preferred and how this affected her Growth affected health (Watch a video here).
- RFID: Providing an update on our research using RFID technology to track how often free range hens enter their pen (Watch a video here).
- Luke on the farm: To study the feasibility and benefits of hatching chicks in the hen house rather than in a hatchery to improve early care (Watch a video here).
In addition to the four topics presented at the research farm, Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, Perdue’s senior vice president of technical services and innovation, on current livestock initiatives, including:
- Developing an educational module on chicken behavior and using it to train herd advisors;
- Building an enrichment program for broiler breeders with the assumption that it is different from beef poultry;
- Development of a method of assessing the condition of the litter that can be implemented in all farms;
- determining whether restoring the mother hen/chick relationship would benefit the chicks/chicks;
- Finding a low-tech way to measure free-range grazing use.
Perdue gathered members of the Better chicken engagement Working group for a discussion panel focused on how organizations in the multi-stakeholder group are working together to advance broiler rearing standards.
As consumers increasingly want to know more about how the food they eat is grown and produced, another panel of experts discussed the importance of transparency in consumer communications, which is a core aspect of Perdue’s approach to animal husbandry.
In addition, subject matter experts shared cutting-edge research on how animal welfare and nutrition can lead to consumer benefits, including improved product taste and nutritional value, and how modern measurements of animal welfare practices can improve the application of knowledge.
Coinciding with the annual summit, the company released its 2022 Commitments to Animal Care Report. Perdue’s Animal Care program now includes nearly 90 initiatives as part of the company’s four-part plan to accelerate its poultry care advancements. Launched in 2016, the four-part plan includes:
- Chicken: Based on the “Five Freedoms”, Perdue will go beyond the needs of his chickens and also include what his chickens “want”.
- Businesses: Perdue will recommit to relationships with farmers who raise his animals.
- Trust: To build trust, Perdue will be transparent in its programs, goals and progress.
- Continuous improvement: Perdue will continue to build a culture of animal care within the company through continuous improvement.
To view the full report, go to www.perdueanimalcare.com.About Perdue Farms
We are a fourth-generation, family-owned US food and agriculture company. Through our belief in responsible food and farming, we empower consumers, customers and farmers through trusted choices in products and services.
The premium protein portfolio within our Perdue Foods business, including our flagship PERDUE® Brand, Niman Ranch®, Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats®, Coleman Natural®and Tasty®as well as our pet brands, Spot Farms® and Full Moon®is available through a variety of channels including retail, foodservice, club stores and our direct-to-consumer website. PerdueFarms.com.
Perdue AgriBusiness is an international agricultural products and services company.
Now in our second century, our way forward is about getting better, not just bigger. We never use growth-promoting drugs in poultry or livestock, and we actively promote animal welfare programs. Our brands are leaders in antibiotic-free chicken, turkey, pork, beef and lamb, as well as USDA-certified organic chicken and beef. Learn more at Corporate.PerdueFarms.com.