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From the News Archives...

Meet tomorrow's chicken.

Featherless chicken.Yes, the chicken is real. It's a new featherless hybrid designed to cut the cost of raising chickens in confinement. A major problem with raising 10,000 birds in very close quarters is that they generate a lot of heat. If the fans and air conditioners fail, the chickens can die within a matter of hours. The new featherless birds dissipate heat more easily because they have been relieved of their down comforters. As a result, they direct more of their energy towards growing bigger and faster.

A scientific breakthrough or a very bad idea? Time will tell. But the poultry industry does not have a very good track record. At the present time, our standard chickens are hybridized birds that have been raised in confinement, fattened on genetically-modified grain, and, more often than not, been treated with growth-promoting compounds and antibiotics. The known consequences of this factory system are: 1) less nutritious meat for consumers, 2) the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; 3) inhumane treatment of animals, and 4) environmental problems caused by the concentration of millions of tons of poultry manure.


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