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Perdue Farms Reiterates Commitment to Humane Poultry Handling

29 October 2013

US - In response to recent allegations by an animal welfare organisation, poultry producer and processor, Perdue Farms, has reiterated its adherence to the standards set out in its 'Humanely Raised Process Verified Program'.

Perdue Farms has responded to a recent lawsuit in Florida, saying: "The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) second lawsuit in reference to our Humanely Raised Process Verified Program has no basis and is merely an attempt to attack our brands.

"We stand by our Humanely Raised Process Verified Program and will vigorously defend ourselves in court. This second lawsuit, filed in Florida, and the previous lawsuit filed in New Jersey, were not initiated by customers, but by the HSUS as part of its opposition to raising animals for food. The HSUS is in no way associated with the local humane societies that run animal shelters. The HSUS takes exception to all forms of animal agriculture and promotes a radical animal rights agenda.

"HSUS falsely asserts that there is no difference between Perdue’s welfare programme and industry standards. The Harvestland/Perdue Poultry Welfare Program exceeds the National Chicken Council guidelines in several areas, including the additional steps of monitoring air quality in the poultry house, video monitoring of live-bird handling areas at the processing plant and USDA audits of producer farms and our hatcheries.

"Contrary to the image HSUS attempts to portray, all of our chickens are raised under a strict USDA Process Verified Program that ensures adherence to our Poultry Welfare Program from hatchery to processing. This includes numerous, documented checks and audits at every step in the process. All of our chickens are raised cage-free on family farms. They live in temperature-controlled housing with fresh-air ventilation, where they are protected from disease, predators and the elements. They have constant access to food and water, room to move about and exhibit natural behaviors, and cycles of light and dark to ensure resting periods.

"Chickens are transported from the farm to the plant in coops specially designed to protect them from injury and weather extremes. Upon arrival at the plant, they are protected in covered sheds, and fans and misters ensure bird comfort during hot weather. Travel times and waiting times at the plant are limited by our Poultry Welfare Program and are carefully monitored and adjusted for temperature and weather conditions as part of the Humanely Raised Process Verified Program.

"As part of the USDA inspection process at each of our plants, USDA inspectors also observe areas of the plant where live birds are handled to ensure “humane treatment” of all animals. Through the USDA Process Verified Program, we go the extra step of inviting the USDA to inspect our hatcheries and farms where our birds are raised, to provide assurance that we are following our Poultry Welfare Program," according to Perdue.

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