Barbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

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….

Farming the Unconscious

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

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27 Responses to “Blind, Footless Chickens for Future CAFOs”

  1. Donnie Duivanie says:

    Basically, they’re partially killing chickens to a degree insufficient to make them die. Next, they will induce deafness, and eventually just severe any part of the nervous system that is not necessary for survival in a 12″ square cage. I wonder which poor species of creature will be next. Sick.

  2. Nano says:

    Hey Zac, go find yourself and farm animal sanctuary and learn something. We’re not here to spoonfeed you, get off your tush and do your own homework. Don’t ask questions you havent yet attempted to answer on your own, and don’t depreciate the issue but positing opinions without information. An uninformed opinion is more than an annoyance, it’s a nuisance, at best.

  3. Elizabeth Luik says:

    How grusomly cruel in keeping poor blind chickens to be used for whom? Are we that cruel & even keep our little children in this same manored way?
    These things should create more ACTION HELP FOR POOR LITTLE ANIMALS- What are we all waiting for?

  4. Kev C says:

    Many years ago I worked in the poultry industry and I saw the sorry state the birds arrived in. Broken bones from being mishandled by the catchers in the rearing sheds, deformed legs from not being able to move around at all during their short lives. They were often covered in sores from being pecked by the other birds despite having their beaks cruelly burned off to stop it and some were even dead on arrival at the slaughter house. Yes I worked there because there were no other jobs available at that time. I eventually left to go back into further education as a mature student because I couldn’t face another day working for nothing worthwhile. Bit like those chickens and turkeys really. Living for nothing worthwhile except feeding worthless humans living in the same sort of pointless existence. Personally I reckon humans are mostly living for nothing worthwhile except putting money into some fat lardy arsed top cats pockets. Someone with no conscience, no soul and no humanity. Sounds like every business man and woman I ever met.

    Time to get a hold on the true meaning of life and what it really is worth before we become nothing more than providers of fortune for the fat cats by consuming food of ever decreasing quality designed to be produced in the most simplistic and cost efficient (read cheapest price) way. If this is all we are here for then we deserve nothing more than the very worst form of exploitation possible because to be fed with this crap is all we truly deserve if we say nothing. This is precisely what these people are doing with this mad design and others still being formulated. What next? Cows with no legs to stop them walking away their weight unnecessarily?

    Get a hold of your humanity people before you forget what it really is like and what it really is for.

  5. Zac says:

    I’m glad to see hnl’s comments. I am in total agreement here.

    I’m not saying this is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t have enough info yet. It’s definitely weird, and I think we should scrutinize it carefully, but if they can produce cheaper chickens that don’t experience discomfort, isn’t that a good thing?

    If there are downsides, what are they? I do not respond to conspiracy theories and claims that one group of people are innately evil. This is the provence of fantasy, and not useful to getting to the bottom of an issue.

    And Lyn, meat (and food in general) is significantly cheaper than it has ever been in our history. Despite the fact that we support a huge population, many times the size of anything before the industrial revolution, the average person still eats more and eats better then at any time in our history. There are certainly flaws in our food production system, potentially deadly ones, but it has definitely allowed the poor to eat very well, and avoid starvation like never before.

  6. Steve Barnett says:

    They are doing the same thing with people. THe no child left behind means none move forward. They want everyone to act a certain way. So they could just drug humans and they all would have the same IQ and they would be like zombies. You can say it’s just weird, but an animal being blinded without legs sitting in a cage means it’s not alive. I won’t eat veal because the calf is in a small cage without exercise. I won’t eat the enlarged duck liver. I won’t eat fish or shrimp raised in a pond. You crowd things together and it creates problems anyway. The same with people. The Asians have created a chicken without feathers.

  7. Steve Barnett says:

    CHicken has no taste. Turkeys are far more tastier. City folks will have no choice. The country folks can just let the chickens roam around the farm and don’t really have to feed them very little. You can throw them bread crumbs.

  8. Leslie Fish says:

    How about this? Everybody who has even a few square feet of land, grow your own vegetables and meat (a chicken coop or rabbit hutch) and boycott factory-farmed food. The only way to stop madness like this is to hit them where they’ll feel it — in the wallet.

    –Leslie < Fish

  9. Mari says:

    I worked on my Aunt’s Arkansas Chicken Farm one summer and one Christmas season. They had 500 chickens in two different houses, that were several blocks long. They provided them music. They ran round free on the ground, or could go sit in a nesting area.

    Never did I see anything like what I am hearing about here. I don’t eat chicken, and I don’t eat eggs. Why can’t these so called damn chicken farmers just turn them loose out in a fenced field. Like they use to in the old days!!

  10. hnl says:

    “The very fact that someone could consider blinding them makes me wonder whether it’s the humans who should be farmed for their meat. The world could quite happily slaughter these types of satanic thinkers for pork chop equivalents.”

    “Harry…they are not human beings.
    This is insane.”

    “I have more empathy with animals than I do with human beings anymore. Animals, are just what they are. What you see, is what you get. A dog is the most loyal friend you’ll ever have.

    Humans, on the other hand, lie, deceive, cheat, and screw you over. Or come up with Satanic ideas like this story.”

    First of all, having more empathy with animals than human beings will not get you anywhere.

    Secondly, Zac makes a point more significant than all the comments above:
    “Something like this could mean that poorer people get to eat better.”

    And what does this mean to everyone else above.

    The horrific conclusion of chicken farming is not a result “evil people”, it is a result of the choices of the entire u.s population. Including you and the people you see everyday, and your ancestors.

    The people who you deem evil may be extremely deluded and have red red hands, but they are Businessmen. They provide what YOU DEMAND. Which is the only reason why things like whole foods are getting so big, because it’s becoming in demand. which is good.

    so where is the harm? I’m not saying it’s not there, but where is it? maybe in the entire country’s lifestyle. fast food and lack of responsibility or empathy towards the people around you who are struggling?

  11. Lyn says:

    It won’t stop with chickens…Sick, sick people. It’s always all about the money. Zac what the ell makes you think raising anything this way will drop money into poor peoples pockets? Have prices ever gone down in your life? It would just be a matter of time before animals like this will develop some weird disease that they won’t “discover” until a pile of people die! I’m afraid to eat anything these days. I have lost 22 pounds in the past few months and I wasn’t overweight in the first place! Control food and you control the population. Somebody knows what they are doing…

  12. Zac says:

    I know I won’t make any friends by saying this, but can anyone actually show me the harm here other than “it’s weird.”

    The philosophical issues surrounding are complex and there is little consensus. This proposes to remove one philosophical concern, animal discomfort. I grant you, it’s debatable whether it is an acceptable or effective solution to the concern, but once again, why isn’t it acceptable other than your gut feeling?

    Aside from the philosophical concerns, I do worry about the safety of meat produced this way. This is a radical departure from how we have traditionally fed ourselves, and as such may have a number of dangerous pitfalls. Assuming we can investigate those possible dangers and eliminate them though, isn’t a system that produces more food for more people at a lower cost desirable? Something like this could mean that poorer people get to eat better.

    So where’s the harm? I personally am not moved by gut feelings and emotional speeches.

  13. Abe says:

    Can anyone see where this is going? Pete Seeger did!
    If the link doesn’ work go to screwtube “little boxes” Pete Seeger

  14. Barbara Talbert says:

    All this in the name of “science”? It is mad science at best and there is too much of it going on today. And what does this insane set-up cost? Probably more than the way chickens have lived for thousands of years, but someone will profit from it. They are trying to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge. It is soon going to be possible to create meat muscle in labs so this could already be an obsolete idea.
    How about going back to common sense. The less meat a man eats the less aggressive he becomes. Looking at society today it might be a welcome change.

  15. amicus curiae says:

    pschycopath with a degree in a so called science environment.
    its whats killing us and animals with disease and stress.
    greed and stupidity go hand in hand.
    I am loving watching my chicks recently hatched explore their 2 acres(well just now 3ft max, from wherever mum is)
    can I eat any of them later?
    doubtful, this lot will have names, their antecedents arent so Pet like, but even so..eggs fine, chicken not so.
    seems I will have 30 or so geriatric chooks in some years time:-)
    and thats fine, they eat bugs , till the soil, eat scraps, make manure and place it for me. win win all round.
    the bright lad proposeing this also probably thinks elders should be hidden away and intubated for convenience too.

  16. Chris says:

    The people who dream up these farming methods are never sane. It’s all about profit, max meat for min money. Chickens are probably the most ill-treated farm animal by a long long way. They should be outdoors, running around. The very fact that someone could consider blinding them makes me wonder whether it’s the humans who should be farmed for their meat. The world could quite happily slaughter these types of satanic thinkers for pork chop equivalents.

  17. pat says:

    It’s time to employ the only moral arguement these evil people understand: boycott their products. Don’t even eat in restaurants that serve cafo poultry.

  18. VPutin54 says:

    This is just sick. What kind of minds are behind ideas like this? Maybe we should do the same to them. A chicken may be a “dumb” animal, but that in NO way justifies this kind of insanity.

    I have more empathy with animals than I do with human beings anymore. Animals, are just what they are. What you see, is what you get. A dog is the most loyal friend you’ll ever have.

    Humans, on the other hand, lie, deceive, cheat, and screw you over. Or come up with Satanic ideas like this story.

    God help us….

  19. The thoughts of the human who decided this cold and careless method to create food from living creatures obviously lacks empathy for animals. What’s scarier, would be those willing to follow this heartless manner of raising meat.

  20. Harry Harris says:

    I frankly am shocked about a human being coming up with this idea. It’s bad
    enough we eat meat at all but surely the animals must be treated with some
    form of dignity and allowed some pleasure out of life. Unbelievably unfeeling.

  21. Gavin Laughland says:

    It never fails to surprise me as to what extremes humans will go to merely to avoid treating animals and humans with respect and dignity. The other option is to, oh, I don’t know, not pump them with growth hormones! As well, I know its tough, but with such advances in technology, I’m sure there’s a way to give chickens a little room without compromising meatiness. And if there isn’t, I don’t give a flying fuck(no pun intended) if my chicken is a bit less fatty, it tastes bland anyway! This is animal cruelty, and makes me want to become a vegetarian, in all honesty.

  22. Andrew Dickey says:

    Well, I am just sooo glad to learn about my own birds and what a blessing they are!! Love the fresh eggs I get daily and the fresh meat from the Roosters!! I will be posting this so folks can learn how THEY profit from the birds and how they PROFIT from us, with out regard for the life they are playing with!! I believe an animal has a soul and knows it’s purpose in life and I am thankful for the life given/taken so I can live!! This is not a way to honor the Chicken!!

  23. disgusted says:

    I already rarely eat chicken, but now, I dont think Ill ever be able to eat it again. YUK!

  24. Old 333 says:

    Sweet! Meat that feels no pain, tastes naturally saucier. Douglas Adams had it right – eventually, we will breed intelligent animals that actually desire the slaughter…

  25. MadFarmer says:

    seems kinda like the matrix

  26. That’s why I keep writing and researching, David. The more we know, the less likely we are to succumb to this type of stuff.

  27. Gruesome! Exploitation is so much simpler when the creatures are incapacitated, uncognizant, and not struggling in the least. I am keeping chickens in my yard the old-fashioned way. I find this fully automated brainless, featherless, sightless, legless mode of chicken raising cruel and unusual to a frightening degree.

    One wonders how much of this technology might be applied to us, as in the “MATRIX” movies! The federal fascist leviathan, like the BORG of “Star Trek”, can only scream “Resistance is futile… You will be assimilated” within the empire. God help us to see resistance is not futile!