Perdue will be forced to remove labels claiming that its chicken products are "humanely raised." In order to qualify for the label, farms need to voluntarily meet standards such as supplying sufficient food, water and ventilation, as well as devoting a certain amount of space per bird.
Two class action lawsuits allege that the company's Harvestland brand chicken does not meet those standards. Herb Frerichs, Perdue Farms' general counsel wrote in a statement:
Perdue rejects the plaintiffs' allegations and maintains that its labels are not misleading in any way. Nonetheless, it has agreed to discontinue the labeling claim at issue. Perdue is committed to treating animals with respect and to ensure their health and safety. We are pleased this lawsuit has been resolved.
The Humane Society's vice president and chief counsel of Animal Protection Litigation says, "Companies like Perdue are exploiting the dramatic growth of consumer demand for improved animal welfare for their own profit. Rather than implementing humane reforms, Perdue has simply slapped 'humanely raised' stickers on its factory farmed products, hoping consumers won't know the difference."
Regardless of the label, industry standards regarding animal cruelty have been particularly lax. Temple Grandin, Ph.D., an expert on animal handling and slaughter wrote, "The National Chicken Council Animal Welfare audit has a scoring system that is so lax that it allows plants or farms with really bad practices to pass."