Major chicken producer Perdue Foods announced a precedent-setting animal welfare policy to improve the lives of 650 billion birds on 2,200 farms. The new policies outlined in the 2016 and Beyond: Next Generation of Perdue Commitments to Animal Care will address the unnaturally rapid growth rates of birds, promise to enrich environments with natural light, and eliminate live-shackle slaughter—where birds are shackled, shocked, and have their throats slit while conscious. Furthermore, the company is now mandating annual third-party audits and increased video surveillance that extends beyond farms and onto transport sites. “With this announcement,” Nathan Runkle, president of animal-rights organization Mercy For Animals (MFA), said, “it’s never been clearer that the days are numbered for many of the industry’s cruelest practices, including breeding birds to grow so fast they’re in constant pain and subjecting birds to a terrifying and torturous slaughter process.” Several incidences of animal cruelty—including chicken abuse at suppliers for Tyson and Eggland’s Best—were exposed in recent undercover investigations conducted by MFA. “Perdue’s leadership will also hopefully inspire other companies to adopt similar meaningful animal welfare requirements,” Runkle said. “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.”
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