The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) has apparently launched a campaign “to publicly expose Perdue for using misleading labeling claims to manipulate consumers who are trying to make humane choices in the market place.” In a letter to Perdue Farms, Inc., AWI directs the company to cease advertising some of its chicken products as “Humanely Raised” or “Raised Cage Free” because these terms do not reflect “any meaningful improvement upon conventional husbandry.”

According to the letter, such claims exploit the average consumer’s unfamiliarity with industry practices by implying “the chickens are raised under conditions that exceed the norm.” See AWI Press Release, May 12, 2010.

Meanwhile, Perdue has reportedly defended the labels as responsive to consumer requests for additional education. “Consumers told us they regard the USDA Process Verified Program as being the most credible available today,” one Perdue representative was quoted as saying. “We therefore developed several USDA Process Verified programs, including Humanely Raised and Raised Cage Free to respond to consumers’ desire for more information.” See Meatingplace.com, May 12, 2010.