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These chickens need a shrink.

"Pretty much all commercially raised chickens and eggs have been exposed to modern “factory farming” strategies which in turn endanger their nutritious value by using health supplements which artificially boost development, vaccinations to avoid disease and also antibiotics in order to suppress bacterial infections. In addition, chickens are held inside overloaded conditions that promote anxiety within the flock and lead to severe air and water contamination".

This blog seems to be saying that looking after livestock well, by feeding chickens supplements which have been specifically designed to be as nutritious as possible for chickens, and preventing disease by giving vaccinations, is agribusiness being left unfettered to inflict cruelty on chickens. It is not an uncommon opinion. Reality is the other way around. Intensive farmers are able to prioritise welfare far more than conventional farmers. I've written about this (articles on the right).

The 'anxiety' caused to chickens by being reared intensively argument is an interest one. It's not new of course, veal calves spring to mind, but today its use of therapeutic language to imagine the 'suffering' of non-humans creates a truly juvenile anthropomorphism which is evident in many discussions of the future of farming. I'm being side-tracked right now from writing an article about the protest over what VIVA (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) are calling the Foston Pig Prison.

Out of all the controversies over animals being kept indoors, the indoor farming of pigs is perhaps the strangest. Pigs are ideally suited to being kept indoors. They are hopeless at regulating their body temperature.

Many pig varieties are susceptible to sunburn, heat stress, and all pigs lack sweat glands and cannot cool themselves. Pigs have a limited tolerance to high temperatures and heat stress can lead to death. Temperature regulation is therefore particularly important. Intensive, specialist farms allow the kind of investment in temperature control systems that are out of the reach of the traditional farmer - ventilation or drip water systems. A traditional farmer would hose the pigs with a pipe. Excuse me for seeing progress.


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