Perdue Sued over Misleading “Humanely Raised” Chicken Label

By on December 7, 2010

Perdue ChickenA Washington, D.C.-based animal protection group has filed a class action in New Jersey state court accusing Perdue Farms Inc., of violating state consumer fraud laws by illegally promoting Perdue and Harvestland products with labels that say “humanely raised.” 

The suit, filed by the Humane Society of the United States, has accused Perdue, the nation’s third-largest poultry producer, of mislabeling its fresh and frozen chicken as humanely raised. According to the complaint, Purdue relies upon slaughter guidelines established by the National Chicken Council, which permits for so-called brutality and regular infliction of severe duress and pain.

The animal rights group noted in its complaint that the industry guidelines allow numerous inhumane practices, including painful handling and shackling of live birds; nearly continuous dim lighting that prevents normal resting behavior and is linked to painful problems associated with fast growth; the transport and holding of birds on cramped trucks for long periods of time in extreme temperatures with no food or water; and inhumane slaughter practices.

“Companies like Perdue are exploiting the dramatic growth of consumer demand for improved animal welfare for their own profit,” Jonathan Lovvorn, chief counsel for Humane Society, said in a statement. “Rather than implementing humane reforms, Perdue has simply slapped ‘humanely raised’ stickers on its factory farmed products, hoping consumers won’t know the difference.”

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The suit seeks compensation for consumers who purchased Perdue and Harvestland products with misleading claims and injunctive relief against further use of the “humanely raised” claims.

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