While I was preparing for a lesson on biotechnology in the chicken industry next week, I was surprised that there isn’t a lot about genetically modifying chickens. Selective Breeding is the oldest method of obtaining animals with desirable traits, yet it seems to remain extremely popular. Transgenics, at least now, do not seem to be used as much.
Though I was disappointed by the lack of results on poultry biotechnology, I came across an interesting article. Apparently, over ten years ago featherless chickens were bred with Broiler chickens to produce featherless Broiler chickens. Why in the world would this be a good idea? Feathers on a chicken are the equivalent to a human wearing a fur coat. In extreme heat, the chickens naturally suffer from the weather. Broiler chickens especially are bred to be larger and produce more body heat. Chickens without feathers then will have lower and healthier body temperatures.
Above is what a featherless chicken looks like. On one hand, this picture is pretty cool because you can definitely see how chickens evolved from dinosaurs. On the other hand, this looks like a walking chicken carcass.
Naturally, there is much debate on this topic. Those who support breeding these chickens claim this is economically and environmentally advantageous. Others who are opposed say that featherless chickens suffer from parasites, sunburn, attracting mates, and are less suited to adapt to changing weather conditions.
My opinion: the featherless chickens are another example of how humans treat animals in the food industry like commodities and not living, breathing beings. It’s a further attempt to increase meat production without thinking about the ethical issues it raises.
What are your thoughts on bald chickens: Yay or Nay?