Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

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Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#1  Postby Dolphin42 » May 12th, 2017, 7:51 pm

If you happily eat meat with absolutely no moral qualms then that's fair enough and you can stop reading here as this won't interest you.

In the modern world, let's face it, chickens exist purely as a food source for human beings (and occasional foxes). The only reason they need to have a brain is so that it can perform the function of causing them to eat food and breathe long enough for their breasts to grow to a size whereby they can be eaten. But it's the possession of a brain, and the consequent ability to suffer, which causes the ethical dilemmas when we force them to live in tiny cages and suffer for all of their short lives. It has been suggested before that chicken breast meat might be grown without the need for the rest of the chicken to exist at all. But if that is too difficult, how about selectively breeding the chickens so that their brains get smaller and smaller, simpler and simpler, until we are confident that they are no more capable of suffering than this computer on which I type but are still capable of arranging for the required nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to the chicken's muscle tissue?

Would it be possible to objectively judge when this point has been reached? If so, should we try it with other animals too? Perhaps humans? I've heard that pig meat is the closest there is to human meat. Since bacon is almost universally agreed to be delicious, is it time we tried breeding tiny brained humans for their delicious flesh?

Just a thought.
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Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains



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Re: Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#2  Postby Greta » May 12th, 2017, 8:44 pm

LOLOLOL Your last suggestion is completely logical but perhaps has marketability issues, although no doubt there'd be a niche market :)

Actually, I lost my taste for bacon after many years of not eating pig in protest at piggery practices. I find the smell nauseating, although at least some of that response may be psychsomatic as I have a strong image in my head of those small cages with sows unable to move as they lead their short, horrid lives in their own excrement.

It would seem much easier to breed mindless chickens than pigs or humans since there's ostensibly less distance between their normal mind and non sentience. One issue is that, in order to function, animals need nerves and what nerves do is deliver pain. So physical ailments caused by cruel conditions would still bring suffering.

It basically comes down to how much we ourselves care. We know that we have to kill things to live, at least at this stage. How to minimise suffering? Then again, some may ask why bother trying to minimise suffering? Overpopulated fish farms no doubt harbour unhappy animals but for some reason it's harder to care about a fish's happiness than that of land vertebrates.

Different people "draw different lines in the sand" when it comes down to the significance of other animals' suffering. At one extreme are fruitarians, who don't even want to kill plants. At another extreme there is disregard for everyone outside of oneself and immediate family, with most of us, obviously, somewhere in between.

Another promising option could be when/if well-prepared food insects become widely available at reasonable prices. At present, paying high prices for insect foods seems rather loony.

Edit: fixed errors resulting in garble (hopefully).
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Re: Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#3  Postby Woodart » May 13th, 2017, 11:44 am

I personally vote for eating humans. I mean look, we have over 7 billion people on this planet – that is way too many. We are destroying ourselves and the planet anyway. So let’s start eating people and solve our population problems. The other problems like pollution, nuclear waste, global warming, etc. are other issues. Let’s tackle over-population first. It sounds viable to me – how about you?

Now, who is going to be on the selection committee? Should we put Trump at the top of the list or on the menu? I vote to put Trump on the menu. Kill two birds with one stone. Sounds reasonable to me, but who else goes on the menu? Now, there are certain groups of people I don’t like – so – on to the kitchen they go. You get my drift?

---------------------------------

I hear your point – humans are cruel – and it is true. However, isn’t life cruel? Have you ever watched free range chickens? They eat bugs as fast as they can gobble them up. How do the bugs feel about this? Do you kill spiders – swat flies? How about when you have a tick? The only way to get them off – is to kill them. Think of all the parasites that live in our bodies – billions. Are they all friends with each other? No – actually many of them are fierce competitors. At what point do we draw the line for how far our empathy extends?

I mean we can all become Jain’s and sweep the ground before everywhere we walk. Do you want to do that? I appreciate that Jainism exist, but I don’t want to be one. I totally agree that we are mindless in many of our human actions and interactions. Trump is really the trump card in this regard. To be mindful is Holy and a worthy endeavor. The question is how ascetic do we want to be?
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Re: Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#4  Postby Burning ghost » May 13th, 2017, 11:54 am

Just because we eat them doesn't mean they need to be reduced to being merely chunks of meat. The ethical way forward is to treat them with respect and farm them with compassion and appreciation rather than simply remove our own moral responsibility due to feelings of guilt.

I would happily kill an animal to eat it. I would PREFER to tbh. Sadly the reality today is that it is very inconvenient to do so. Morally I should be very selective about what I eat and have some idea at to how this creature has lived before committing to eating it. I guess I am a hypocrite in this sense, although I do make choices where I can to bolster my sense of moral duty to species on this planet.

We have smaller brains now too. It is not only the chickens we domesticated, we domesticated ourselves too!
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Re: Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#5  Postby Greta » May 13th, 2017, 8:12 pm

Burning ghost wrote:Just because we eat them doesn't mean they need to be reduced to being merely chunks of meat. The ethical way forward is to treat them with respect and farm them with compassion and appreciation rather than simply remove our own moral responsibility due to feelings of guilt.

I would happily kill an animal to eat it. I would PREFER to tbh. Sadly the reality today is that it is very inconvenient to do so. Morally I should be very selective about what I eat and have some idea at to how this creature has lived before committing to eating it. I guess I am a hypocrite in this sense, although I do make choices where I can to bolster my sense of moral duty to species on this planet.

We have smaller brains now too. It is not only the chickens we domesticated, we domesticated ourselves too!

Yet reducing food animals to "chunks of meat" is the norm. I would describe my friends' and family's attitude towards meat as obliviously and cheerfully psychopathic, with almost complete objectification of certain non-human sentient animals.

Given our impulses from infancy to bond and compete, it seems to me that predators necessarily have compartmentalised empathy; if prey is not objectified by a predator then the predator may will hesitate. Eventually the lines of predators that completely objectify and never hesitate to bring down their quarry will survive better than any potentially more empathetic predators.

Hence our routine hypocrisy. Me too.
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Re: Breeding chickens with smaller and smaller brains

Post Number:#6  Postby Burning ghost » May 15th, 2017, 2:20 am

Predators operate well because they are capable of empathy. It helps them to be more efficient hunters and killers if they understand the habits and perspectives of their prey to some degree.

Like every argument there are various points that can be used to back up almost any random claim.

I still believe that the little I do does help though. Maybe not enough, but hopefully others will take up the challenge. Simply becoming vegan also leads to us having to face up to numerous other hard truths about the world in which we live in. I do believe the younger generations are much more informed about our rapidily changing world and understand the need to preserve nature.

Someone pointed out something to me about the Trump Wall. Most people don't even stop to consider the ecological impact of such a proposition. Many species migrate over land and don't go through customs. Several species are likely to be killed off.
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