We started raising poultry in 1920, and we've been dedicated to animal welfare ever since.
We know that chickens need more than food and water. Little extras add up to make a big difference in their lives. We're raising them to higher standards by giving them what they want and need, with forward-thinking initiatives like baby chick nutritional programs, natural light in chicken houses, and guidelines for air and bedding quality.
We believe in five freedoms for animals and are charting our progress using them.
We're committed to listening and communicating with the farmers who take care of our animals, and building stronger relationships with them. We're improving things for farmers and our animals by including windows in all new poultry houses, and covering the cost of converting existing houses. Meet a few of our family farmers to learn more.
We're open to constructive criticism from everyone, and we're committed to answer to it. We're responding to questions, sharing important information about our animal welfare initiatives, including results from third-party audits, with our stakeholders.
We've had an active Animal Care Council for more than 15 years, but we're still learning new things every day. We use what we learn to advance our animal care programs and change the culture around animal care with our associates, farmers and anyone else who comes into contact with our chickens. We are keeping a log of both positive and negative behaviors to improve the raising of our animals.
We offer continuous access to nutritionally complete 100% veggie diets free from animal by-products. We also offer herbal products and probiotics to promote healthy chickens. And we've found that adding fiber to our chickens’ diet has positive benefits on overall health. We continue to work on chick feed nutrition that supports a stronger, healthier start to their development.
All poultry houses have state-of-the-art temperature control. Many of our chickens have outdoor access and natural lighting and we're adding more houses like this every year. We enforce mandatory "lights off" resting periods. We’re continuing to study the feasibility and potential benefits of an on farm hatching program to improve early chicken care, and how we can make chickens and other breeds feel more comfortable within their housing environment.
Perdue is the leader in raising healthy animals with No Antibiotics Ever. In fact, 100% of our chickens are raised in no-antibiotics-ever programs. We also prohibit genetic engineering in our breeds and are investigating slower growth breeds as an alternative. And we've added third-party video monitoring and auditing to help ensure our chickens are handled properly. More than 80% of our live haul personnel are trained and certified in the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association Poultry Handling and Transportation program.
Simply put, we believe when raising poultry, chickens should be able to act like chickens. We feel that active chickens — those that can express normal behaviors such as perching and play — are healthier chickens. That's why we held our second farmer contest, the Free Range Pasture Design Contest, to tap into farmers’ knowledge about pasture activity and what encourages chickens to go outside. Every year, we're adding more housing with outdoor access, windows, perches and pecking bales.
We have zero tolerance policies for instances of animal abuse. We started incentive pay and video monitoring to emphasize appropriate care, have emergency procedures in place for natural disasters and have successfully implemented a controlled-atmosphere stunning system at one of our harvest plants. We are also doing other things to minimize bird stress.