This Week in Meat: Chickens Catch a Break, While ‘Jaws’ Hits Hot Dogs… Hard

One of America’s largest poultry producers has decided to improve the living conditions of its chickens, but that's not the only meat story out there.

Market research company Mintel says that nearly 70% of consumers in the U.S. say they wish food companies were more transparent about how they manufacture their products.

Well, for the 30 percent of you who don’t care – I’ll give you a second to press stop on your video player.

Perdue, one of America’s largest poultry producers has decided to improve the living conditions of its chickens. The company will provide more rest, more nutritious food, access to outside light, and will incentivize its employees based on proper handling of the chickens – versus previous standards based on efficiency and production speed. The company is also reviewing a more humane way of killing the chickens than the method it currently uses.

No doubt these changes are consumer-driven and, in the end, it’s the consumers who will likely pay for them. But according to James Dunn, a professor of agricultural economics at Penn State, the price increase will likely be low.

Animal right activists, like Daisy Freund, director of farm animal welfare at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, suggest that the industry at large seems to be headed this direction, and there is no reason not to. In an email to Market Watch, she said “We are slowly but surely moving toward a world where companies that do not address animal welfare will be unable to compete.”

This meat story comes in second, however, to the one out of Coney Island, NY this past weekend, where competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut downed a record 70 hots dogs and buns in the yearly competitive eating bout sponsored by Nathan’s Famous.

Perhaps someone should look into a more humane way of doing this as well, like… by not doing it.

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