Per­due to kill its chick­ens more gen­tly

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - MARKETS -

Per­due Farms, known for its name­sake chicken brand, is rolling out gen­tler slaugh­ter prac­tices as part of its ef­forts to re­duce trauma and dis­com­fort for birds.

The com­pany will in­crease its use of gas stun­ning, ac­cord­ing to the first progress re­port on an­i­mal care re­leased by Per­due on Mon­day. The process ex­poses birds to a gas mix­ture that ren­ders them in­sen­si­ble to pain or dis­tress be­fore slaugh­ter.

It’s the lat­est step in the poul­try in­dus­try’s cam­paign to re­spond to con­sumers, es­pe­cially mil­len­ni­als, who are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about an­i­mal wel­fare.

The Sal­is­bury, Md.-based com­pany, the fourth-largest U.S. chicken pro­ducer, is push­ing for bet­ter poul­try care, im­proved re­la­tion­ships with its con­tract farm­ers and trans­parency with con­sumers, ac­cord­ing to Chair­man Jim Per­due.

“There are a lot of rea­sons for us to move for­ward on bet­ter care,” Per­due, whose grand­fa­ther started the com­pany in 1920, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “It’s good for the chicken, farmer and the meat.”

The com­pany will in­tro­duce the gas stun­ning at a Delaware chicken plant in Novem­ber and grad­u­ally im­ple­ment it in all its fa­cil­i­ties. The process is al­ready used at its turkey plant in In­di­ana.

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