May 28, 2024

Judge Denies Dismissal of HSUS Case Against Perdue

A federal judge has denied Perdue Farms’ attempt to dismiss a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) alleging that the company misleads consumers about their treatment of chickens. The class action lawsuit was filed in November 2010 in New Jersey on behalf of “all consumers duped” by Perdue. HSUS claims that Perdue is illegally marketing its Harvestland and Perdue products with “Humanely Raised” labels.

GavelU.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp said the plaintiffs “have sufficiently pled that a reasonable consumer may have interpreted the Humanely Raised label to include the processes to which the chicken is exposed throughout its life, including slaughter.” The standards upon which Perdue has based its claimed are the “Animal Welfare Guidelines” of the National Chicken Council, which is the trade group for the chicken industry. Those guidelines permit practices such as “painful handling and shackling of live birds; near 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 and water; and egregiously inhumane slaughter practices,” according to HSUS.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for Animal Protection Litigation at the HSUS said in a statement, “companies such as Perdue are exploiting the dramatic growth of consumer demand for products that meet higher animal welfare standard. Slapping ‘humanely raised’ stickers on the same old factory farmed products is not going to cut it with either consumers or the courts.”¬†Perdue claims that consumers “do not expect a ‘Humanely Raised’ label to be an assurance that the birds are humanely slaughtered. You can participate in the lawsuit by letting HSUS know if you purchased Perdue products with this label.


  1. Alan Frost says

    What does this story have to do with food poisoning?

    • Linda Larsen says

      Animals that suffer unnecessary stress can make them more vulnerable to disease, which can be passed to humans. The Livestock Behavior Research Unit at a USDA facility found that “there is increasing evidence to demonstrate that stress can have a significant deleterious effect on food safety through a variety of potential mechanisms.”

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