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Mike Popowycz, chairman of the National Chicken Council, talks about the changes that have taken place in the United States during the Chicken Marketing Summit on July 17. | Roy Graber
on July 17, 2017

Broiler industry is animal activists’ latest bullseye

Slower-growing breeds, stocking densities and stunning methods are being brought to the forefront

The broiler industry is the latest target for the animal rights community, said Mike Popowycz, vice chairman and chief financial officer for Case Foods.

Popowycz, who serves the chairman of the National Chicken Council, gave the welcoming address during the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit in Asheville, North Carolina, on July 17.

The Chicken Marketing Summit has been an annual event since 1976, Popowycz said, and the industry has seen significant changes since that time. Consumers have been introduced to terms in the modern day that they had not been introduced to during the early days of the summit, including raised without antibiotics or raised without human antibiotics.

And now, consumers are being exposed to more terms as animal rights activists push broiler welfare issues, similar to the cage-free egg movement and the movement to eliminate gestation stalls from pig farms.

“Today our industry is faced with no shortage of challenges and opportunities,” said Popowycz. “After successes with the pork and egg laying industries, poultry production has become the bullseye of animal rights activists. Our customers are being targeted with issues ranging from slower-growing chickens to poultry house densities to gas stunning.”

While consumers are being introduced to such issues, the poultry industry has done well to improve its transparency and tell its story. “Consumers today know more about how the animals were raised and how they were processed,” he said, brining attention to a variety of websites affiliated with the NCC, including and, which offer customers a closer look.

Chicken Marketing Summit 2018

Chicken Marketing Summit uniquely explores issues and trends in food marketing and consumer chicken consumption patterns and purchasing behavior. In addition to educational sessions, attendees have numerous networking opportunities to foster interaction between speakers and fellow poultry industry peers. Chicken Marketing Summit 2018 will take place at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA on July 22 -24, 2018.

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