NPR

Perdue Farms Signs Up For A Chicken Welfare Revolution

The poultry industry may be on the verge of adopting ambitious new animal-welfare standards, giving chickens more space and daylight, and even returning to older, slower-growing chicken breeds.
Young chickens hide inside a wooden box, one of the "enrichments" that Perdue is adding to its chicken houses. Source: Dan Charles/NPR

In a vast, dimly lit barn near Frankfort, Delaware, surrounded by tens of thousands of young chickens, about a dozen people in ghostly white coveralls are considering future options for the poultry industry.

Executives from Perdue Farms, the fourth-largest poultry producer in the country, have set up this tour. Their guests include some long-time foes: people who lead influential animal welfare organizations like the Humane Society of the United States, Compassion in World Farming and Mercy for Animals.

They're here because Perdue, breaking ranks with the rest of the industry, has endorsed a major shift in the

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