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Bald Chickens: Scientific Breakthrough, or Animal Cruelty?

Bald Chickens: Scientific Breakthrough, or Animal Cruelty?

Scientists at Hebrew University in Israel have successfully created a breed of featherless, fast-growing chickens. The birds are not genetically modified, but instead the result of selective breeding of a natural mutation.

While this may seem like a strange trait to deliberately breed into a chicken, researchers claim there are many reasons why bald chickens are necessary. They point to the fact that fast-growing “boiler chickens” produce excessive body heat and may suffer tremendously in warmer climates, so the lack of feathers would make these creatures more comfortable.

They may also be leaner and grow faster, which might improve the quality of meat and result in a cost savings. The lack of feathers means that the birds won’t need to be plucked after they’re slaughtered, which not only saves time, claim the researchers – it reduces pollution. Plucking contaminates large quantities of water with feathers and fat.

Animals rights groups aren’t buying it – they claim the changes don’t do anything to improve the lives of chickens and may actually make them worse. For one, the lack of feathers removes crucial protection against parasites. Featherless chickens are also far more vulnerable to sunburn. They also fear that featherless male chickens won’t be able to mate.

It seems that the real issue here is with modern farming techniques – if producers didn’t “intensively” feed these chickens to try to promote quicker growth, they wouldn’t suffer the host of issues which makes featherless chickens necessary to begin with. The solution to animals suffering from inhumane living conditions isn’t to alter them so that they can better tolerate those conditions. Maybe instead of breeding bald chickens, we should be working on improving farms so that regular chickens can have access to sunlight and air, and grow at a natural pace.

 

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Photo by: Steven L Johnson

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126 comments

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5:49AM PST on Dec 10, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

1:30PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

our goal shouldnt be to adapt the animals to OUR world but to adapt our conditions to THEM

8:51AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

So ugly idea!!!!! Pobres pollos!!!

3:46AM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

Che avidità. Fare crescere più in fretta un pollo solo per guadagno......senza pensare a quello che può soffrire il povero pollo.

6:50PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Really bad!

3:46AM PST on Mar 1, 2012

Why should they care about these gentle creatures. It's just their wallets they are concerned about. I just hope this crap doesn't go ahead. We need to fight this in any way we can.

5:18AM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Playing with nature again! :/ choosing which animal should breed with which isn't right. thanks for sharing :)

11:21AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

they want us to believe that it is for chickens in hot countries, they take us for fools, we all know that these poor animals would go anyway in cold countries like home in France and that these chickens are frozen cold. With us, they say it is to save time since there is not the pluck. is the real reason

11:20AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

they want us to believe that it is for chickens in hot countries, they take us for fools, we all know that these poor animals would go anyway in cold countries like home in France and that these chickens are frozen cold. With us, they say it is to save time since there is not the pluck. is the real reason

11:19AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

they want us to believe that it is for chickens in hot countries, they take us for fools, we all know that these poor animals would go anyway in cold countries like home in France and that these chickens are frozen cold. With us, they say it is to save time since there is not the pluck. is the real reason

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