Ernest Dempsey — Experience tells us that it doesn’t take the human race long to abuse knowledge, scientific research included. Take a look at the research of Israeli scientists who have bred featherless chickens to save money and time spent in removing feathers of slaughtered chicken; thus serving the meat industry with science.
The controversial research, which may better be called “breeding experimentation”, had its first major success a decade ago when the featherless chicken was first bred at the Hebrew University in Israel. On BBC News, this new breed of chicken was called normal expect lacking feathers, and of course, with a faster growth rate. The bird was specifically bred for hot climates, like that of the Middle East, where a lot of energy – translated into money – is spent in keeping normal chicken (those with feather) in air-conditioned poultry farms to save them from heat stroke or death due to overheating. To save costs, therefore, the Israeli scientists created this allegedly normal chicken without feathers. Is a chicken without feathers really normal? Usually, one would seek treatment for a human baby who remains completely hairless while growing up. How come a chicken without feathers is normal then?
After a decade, the Hebrew University’s scientists are now confident that this breed is ready for mass poultry farming. They claim the chicken is “heat-resistant” while opponents of this kind of breeding say that while this bird may not need cooling coming with a cost, it will suffer from being deprived of the natural cover of feathers. They would be susceptible to temperature variations as feathers serve as insulators against extreme weather just like hair do for humans. Direct sunlight would be more hazardous to them and their ability to flap wings naturally will be awfully restricted. Even their mating won’t be natural or comfortable.
Opponents of the research are said to have stated on a Russian media channel that the featherless chicken is actually a genetically modified bird created by Israeli scientists; but the scientists insist that it has been created by “natural selection”. How “natural” has this selection been in human hands to have completed its course in a decade is a question the scientists will need to consider for strengthening their reasoning. On the face of it, it is clear to see that in the name of science, life sensitive to pain and suffering has been toyed with for corporate interest by those who are much more concerned with their bank accounts than with respect for nature and for life itself. After all, it is something just to be slaughtered.