Oof, I knew it! While I had somehow managed to schedule posts up to the day that I got internet, the week with the ‘rents has been so hectic that this is the first time I’ve really gotten to open a computer (and not had actual real deadline-heavy work I was forced to do). And so it seems, I really should have scheduled more. But then again, if I had scheduled more, then I wouldn’t be able to complain about running around like a headless chicken… which then wouldn’t have had me Googling ‘headless chicken’ and finding this interesting article from last month’s Wired.
I read a story once about how Butterball turkeys, if you ever meet one before it’s transported to your table, are completely different from their wild brethren. They’re tame and super stupid, while wild ones tend to be strong and crazy intelligent and will frickin’ CHASE YOU THE FRICK DOWN, MOTHERFRICKER. So considering how much we do to poultry already, why would it be a bad idea to just go the whole way by lobotomizing them, and in doing so minimize actual animal suffering?
Seems some people already had that idea! From Wired.
Each year, the UK raises and kills around 800 million broiler chickens for their meat. These creatures are grown in vast sheds with no natural light over the course of six to seven weeks. They are bred to grow particularly quickly and often die because their hearts and lungs cannot keep up with their body’s rapid growth.
Philosopher Paul Thompson from Purdue University has suggested “ The Blind Chicken Solution“. He argues that chickens blinded by “accident” have been developed into a strain of laboratory chickens that don’t mind being crowded together as much as normal chickens do. As a result, he argues, we should consider using blind chickens in food production as a solution to the problem of overcrowding in the poultry industry. He argues that it would be more humane to have blind chickens than ones that can see.
[Architecture student André] Ford goes a step further and proposes a “Headless Chicken Solution”. This would involve removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken to inhibit its sensory perceptions so that it could be produced in more densely-packed conditions without the associated distress. The brain stem for the chicken would be kept intact so that the homeostatic functions continue to operate, allowing it to grow…
After this “desensitisation”, the chickens could then be stacked into huge urban farms with around 1,000 chickens hooked up to each large vertical frames — a little like the network of pods the humans are connected to in The Matrix. The feet of the chickens would also be removed in order to pack more in. There could be dozens of these frames in the vertical farming system, which Ford refers to as the Centre for Unconscious Farming. Food, water and air would be delivered via a network of tubes and excrement would be removed in the same way. This technique could achieve a density of around 11.7 chickens per cubic metre instead of the current 3.2 chickens achieved in broiler houses.
Is that creepy? Heck yes! But if we’re going to continue farming birds the way they are farmed already, which included such genius solutions as sawing off chicken beaks to get them to stop pecking at each other and grinding up baby chicks because they’re male, why not at least make sure their short lives on this planet are about as peaceful as a rock’s. Or oyster’s.
Food for thought (natch).