Food of the future: mass produced chickens without brains

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Chickens without their brains could be mass produced for human consumption, if a system developed by a British architecture student takes off.

In the UK, 800 million broiler chickens are grown in sheds which have no natural light, but according to philosopher Paul Thompson from Purdue University, blind chickens are not as stressed by their situation as chickens who are aware of their situation.

The chickens are bred to grow faster than normal and therefore often die from heart and lung failure because the organs cannot keep up with the rapidly growing body.

Thompson says that removing parts of their brain would be a more humane way to treat the animals.

His hypothesis spurred architecture student Andre Ford to develop further on the idea and suggest that removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken would lessen its sensory perceptions so it can be produced in the crowded conditions wand not suffer the heightened distress.

The brain stem for the chicken would remain intact so that it could still grow and Ford also suggest cutting off the feet of the chickens to allow easier packing of up to 1000 chickens.

Electric shocks similar to those used in other lab meat experiments would provide a solution to the lack of muscular stimulation, he says.

Ford has hit back at accusations that the proposal is cruel, arguing it is not any worse than current practises in the food production industry.

"The realities of the existing systems of production are just as shocking but they are hidden behind the sentimental guise of traditional farming scenes that we as consumers hold in our minds and see in our food packaging," he said.

Do you think removing the brains and feet of chickens is more humane? Or is it even crueller?