What Makes a Chicken a Chicken?

**This is a sponsored post with Perdue. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

What makes a chicken a chicken? It’s more than just a philosophical question. It’s a question Perdue is tackling and implementing. This year I was given a front row seat to their Animal Care Summit. It’s a summit that brings together industry leaders to discuss and find ways to change the way chickens are raised—to move beyond what chickens “need” to what chickens “want”.

The road to creating a better environment for chickens is a collaborative and collective effort between advocates, customers and farmers. Perdue works closely with each of these sectors through various outlets and forms like this Animal Care Summit to discuss animal care improvements and commitments to future advancements. At the Summit, some of who were present for the advocate side included:  Compassion in World Farming, Farm Animal Protection and Mercy for Animals, all organizations that lead the effort to improve animal welfare policies and practices in measurable ways. The customer panel included Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in US, a cooperative that independently owns and operates 350 supermarkets.

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Roth

It was an eye-opening summit to sit through. To be totally honest, sure there were moments that were beyond my interest and even understanding—but the thing is—parsing through what mattered to me as a consumer, I feel even better about my choice to choose poultry as the dominating protein for my family—especially Perdue’s poultry. It’s a company that is doing it right and committing itself even further to getting it more right with each year.

I mean, how many times have you really thought about how enriched are the lives of the chickens you consume? Like most of you, I leaned towards the basic things that matter to me and my family, things like: are they pumped with antibiotics and is their feed made up of animal by-products?

The answer is no and no. Perdue chickens follow a no-antibiotics-ever protocol and their feed is 100% vegetarian.

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Roth

This summit made me realize that the current cultural reckoning of how our food makes it to our table is about more than how it directly affects me. It’s about the welfare of the chickens first and foremost and the stewards of that starts with the farmers who work with Perdue.

A group of people that are often times faceless. Look at the panel below. They offer a peek into what most people overlook. They are the people of character and commitment, who shepherd Perdue’s vision of animal care. They were also my favorite segment of the conference. Their varied voices, thoughts and opinions always circled back to one commonality: providing the best welfare to their flock and the new way of looking at .  .  .

What makes a chicken a chicken – what does a chicken want?

PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Roth

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