In an attempt to further industrialize our food supply rather than create actual humane conditions for animals used for meat, there is a new proposal afoot. This new “humane” CAFO method requires rendering the chickens blind by “removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken” so that “its sensory perceptions are removed. It can be produced in a denser condition while remaining alive, and oblivious. The feet will also be removed so the body of the chicken can be packed together in a dense volume. Food, water and air are delivered via an arterial network and excreta is removed in the same manner. Around 1000 chickens will be packed into each ‘leaf’, which forms part of a moving, productive system.”
So the master plan is to render the chickens unconscious, blind and footless, while keeping the bodies alive until ready for processing by pumping fluids through the living “meat.” After all, according to this “science-based” approach to animal husbandry, “‘animals’ bred for consumption are crops and agricultural products like any other. We do not, and cannot, provide adequate welfare for these agricultural products and therefore welfare should be removed entirely.” No dear, that chicken you are eating did not come from a real live animal, it is just an agricultural product. Not to worry.
How far distanced have we become from nature, the land, and the living, sentient beings that inhabit it to actually think that this is a good thing? Just how jaded have we become if we consider this the “humane” approach to farming? Here is another quote from the following article: “I think it is time we stopped using the term ‘animal’ when referring to the precursor of the meat that ends up on our plates. Animals are things we keep in our homes and watch on David Attenborough programs. ‘Animals’ bred for consumption are crops and agricultural products like any other. We do not, and cannot, provide adequate welfare for these agricultural products and therefore welfare should be removed entirely.” Really….
The Architecture Department at the Royal College of Art had some thought-provoking projects at the work in progress show. Architectural Design Studio 1’s exhibition was looking at how a dense and vertical architecture can bring back food production and consumption in the city.
One of the students of the course, André Ford, looked at the intensification of the broiler chicken industry. Each year, the UK raises and kills 800 million chickens or ‘broilers’ for their meat. Broiler rearing might be unethical and unsustainable but it is now the most intensified and automated type of livestock production.
Broiler chickens spend their 6-7week lives in windowless sheds, each containing around 40,000 birds. They are selectively bred to grow faster than they would naturally which often causes skeletal problems and lameness. Many die because their hearts and lungs cannot keep up with their rapid growth. Information about the atrocious conditions in which they are raised can be found online.
Philosopher Paul Thompson, of Purdue University is a proponent of The Blind Chicken Solution. Chickens blinded by “accident”, he says, “don’t mind being crowded together so much as normal chickens do.” He adds that while most people would think that creating blind chickens for the poultry and egg industry is an abomination, it would nevertheless be more humane to have these blind chickens.
Sadly, the demand for chicken is rising and methods of production will need to intensify in order to meet this increase. André Ford proposes to adopt a ‘headless chicken solution’. Read more HERE.
© 2012 Barbara H. Peterson