Headless chicken solution

Headless chicken solution envisions Matrix-style farming

Headless chicken solution

Each year, billions of chickens are raised all over the world with the sole purpose of providing meat at the end of their couple of weeks-long lives. The animals are  forced to live in precarious conditions, thousands lined up next to each other, and are stuffed with nutrients designed to make them grow a lot faster than they can handle, often leading their hearts or lungs to fail before they even get to meet the hatchet. A lot of ethical debate has been circulating around animal farming for decades now, activists arguing that it’s inhumane to treat any being to such suffering. Still, man’s gotta eat, right?

Architecture student André Ford has a solution which he believes will spare animals, doomed to be nothing more than living stacks of meat, of all their suffering – severing their frontal cortexes and, thus, effectively rendering them brain-dead. Still alive, yet unconscious, the chickens would be raised in vertical racks, leading to an increase in productivity from 1 chicken per 10 cubic feet to nearly 4 chickens in the same area.

Headless chicken solution

Completely immobile, suspended and with their feet cut-off, the chickens would be plugged to a tube directly connected to the esophagus, which feeds nutrients and water, while another carries the waste away. It all begins to resemble the Matrix scenario, all of a sudden, however instead of a alternate reality, the chickens are left to a pitch black consciousness. There isn’t any red or blue pill. There isn’t any choice, not that they had any in the first place. You see, Ford’s concept raises a myriad of ethical issues at hand, but how can you contest it without being a hypocrite?

Ford argues that his solution is no more shocking than existing food production techniques. “The realities of the existing systems of production are just as shocking,” he told Wired.co.uk, “but they are hidden behind the sentimental guise of traditional farming scenes that we as consumers hold in our minds and see on our food packaging.”

Headless chicken solution

While lobotomizing the chickens will certainly spare them of great suffering, the act itself is cruel. The concept is terribly disturbing, and if applied, it would surely be passed along to other livestock currently raised for meat, like pigs and cattle. This prospect alone is enough, for me at least, to ban such idea from fruition. It might actually spread to a real-life Matrix scenario in which humans, clones most certainly, are raised for body parts, organs and stem cells. There’s no such thing as a “small-compromise” – it always leads to another, and the lesser evil isn’t necessary the best solution.

It’s worth noting that the idea is still a concept, nothing of the sorts has been implemented and it’s likely it will never be. No actual chickens were harmed for this project or photo illustrations. Your thoughts are much appreciated on the issue and your invited to share them in comments section below this post, however, I beg you to be as objective as possible.


33 thoughts on “Headless chicken solution envisions Matrix-style farming

  1. Tallis Holowka

    This is even more disturbing than the current standards for chicken farming. The ethical issue is… every living organism has a fundamental right to consciousness and experience.  Acts of cruelty ultimately have a price.

  2. Rich Stine

    Let’s face it…while we readers are begged to be open & objective, and ‘Matrix Farming’ is, at this stage, merely a conceptual one, the whole idea makes me shudder in horror.
    First, if some of the current farming practices are so grossly lacking in conscience and ethics, I have no doubt whatsoever that humans are capable of bringing this little project to fruition (if, indeed, they haven’t, already. While the author may have done research and found it only to be a concept,  I’m fairly confident that there’s somebody out there is being handsomely rewarded for trying this thing out as I type this.)

    A man’s gotta eat, right?  Well, yes.  We all must eat.

    But I am positive that people can survive on a diet grown, raised & harvested in an ethical way.

    What’s next? Soylent Green?  see:

  3. janvones

    This concept is objectively horrific.

    I suggest reading Temple Grandins’ “Animals Make us Human” for a sane, compassionate alternative.

  4. Rich Stine

     Jan Vones’ suggestion is a good one: reading Temple Grandins’ book is a great way to be objective AND sanity.

  5. Donjuandes

    Aside ethical issues raised by others here… one has to ask if an immobile chicken will develop the same way as a normal one

  6. Renee52

    The fact that our human race has devolved to the point that it would even conceptualize such a horrific process for the “production” of meat is indicative of the detachment and insanity pervasive in our society today.  It is clear human beings require the myriad of nutrients provided by numerous types of meat.  Each type provides our bodies with unique sets of amino acids, vitamins, etc. without which we must continually supplement ourselves from a market of naturally and artificially derived essentials necessary for healthy brains, bones, and bodily tissues. 

    We are omnivores.  That, however, does not mean we are allowed to devolve into a species which has no soul.  We have a farm.  We raise our own meats, vegetables, and fruits.  What we don’t provide from here, comes from  other organic farms.  We read all the rhetoric dished out by the “scientific” food conglomerates that state everything from feedlot animals are just as good and nutritious to the artificially raised GMO and greenhouse vegetables and fruits are “comparable” to those raised naturally. Rubbish! After eating good wholesome foods from our farm, when we tried to eat some meat from the store, we puked our guts out.  Our bodies rejected that which was chemicalized and rotten.  When we try to eat fruits and vegetables from the store, we break out into rashes, and sometimes puke, our bodies rejecting what it knows inherently is bad. 

    The bodies of people, and the minds of people who devour these products on a daily basis are polluting their minds, bodies, and souls.  An animal raised in the fresh air and sunshine, allowed to run and walk and choose its own food is eating and producing the nutrients its body needs to be strong, healthy, its immune system healthy, its brain healthy, its bones healthy, and the animal is happy.  Yes, it is eventually slaughtered, but even the slaughter must be performed in such a way that it is instantaneous, no suffering. The meat produced in this way is passing along its health and strength.   

    Devolving into a world where we not only accept but embrace the slaughter and starvation of other human beings like ourselves, the senseless killing of in our world, is a reflection of our society having detached itself, having lost its connection to what is good in its soul.  We are animals ourselves.  We need to understand what that means.  We need to re-learn what it means to be human, to look at the whole picture, to look beyond our greed.  This sectioning off of components into individual envelopes, whether it be our lives, our bodies, our societies, our food, our children, our body parts, without the examination of the whole and how all work together, interact, influence each other, has led to the acceptance of such depraved analysis as to accept and even embrace an insanity of component manipulation as the norm.   

    To read such a concept as this without reacting with total and absolute repulsion and thus rejection as morally and naturally wrong presents our own insanity for the world to examine.  We, as natural living breathing soulful compassionate human beings certainly can examine this and see the depravity that will result.  Those who have responded have indeed connected the dots and understood the inherent natural course and what is at the end of this road.  Let us not embark upon this road.  The sign says “STOP,”  We must heed the warning, lest we loose ourselves.

  7. Newbie

    If one can use selective genetics to “birth” chickens which never develop anything beyond a sustaining brain stem in the first place, one could avoid the ethical conundrum altogether, no?

  8. Self

    Personally, I see this as a much better alternative to our current system. I know that I would prefer a quick brain-death to a lifetime of suffering. 

  9. David

    Interesting idea, it’s a shame the author of the post to too vapid to make a coherent argument as to *why* this would be bad.  “If we do it to chickens we’ll end up doing it to people!”  Just because you think something’s something’s creepy doesn’t make it immoral.  If you think that for some reason the unendurable suffering of millions of farm animals is an aspect of our food system worth preserving, explain why.

  10. Janell

    It has been shown that people in comas can sometimes actually hear, but cannot speak.  Doing a lobotomy on a chicken is different, but still, we know there are other levels of consciousness in humans, so there most likely are in animals as well.  Imagine being stuck in one position, WITH YOUR FEET CUT OFF, for your several week long life.  Horrible!

    I LOVE meat, but I’d rather go vegan than see something like this happen.

  11. Tom Bortels

    Anyone who thinks this is a step in a bad direction is clearly unaware of current techniques used in the mass farming and buchering of chickens. They lead horrible, short, brutal lives and deaths. As horrifying as this looks – it would probably kinder to the chickens, believe it or not. Unless you think being debeaked, living your entire lives in a cage not much bigger than your body, and then being slaughtered by mechanical decapitation is somehow kinder than being unconcious. Go google for “automatic chicken processing” if you dare.That’s not to say the above is not horrific – it’s simply arguably better than current practice. 

  12. Vitaboy

    The idea of growing mindless clones to keep around for fresh body parts was covered in a graphic novel by John Byrnes called World of Krypton in the mid-1980s. Way before Matrix.

    In the graphic novel, ancient Kryptonians used clones who were genetically engineered at birth to prevent higher brain functions from developing. The bodies would be kept suspended on clone farms and farmed for body parts as needed. It was how Kryptonians extended their lifespans and youth.

    The vast majority of society saw no moral or ethical dilemmas to this practice but there was a small but violent sect that advocated clone rights. The sect was mostly ignored as an extreme terrorist organization until one day, the developed a way to induce higher brain functions to develop in clones in order to set them free. This action started a global nuclear war that lasted a 1000 years, completely devastating the surface of Krypton, which was how John Byrne explained why Krypton was always portrayed as a lifeless world at the time of Superman’s birth.

    So here are the same ethical issues cropping up. World of Krypton, not Matrix. And before people say this kind of thing will never be used on humans, that’s exactly what John Byrne was saying would happen when you dangle the fruit of eternal youth to humanity. People have a funny way of adjusting their morals or ethics when it clearly benefits them to do so.

    Let’s just reminder what Ray Bradbury said about science fiction: he writes sci-fi not to predict the future, but to prevent it.

  13. Monty Washington

    ” While lobotomizing the chickens will certainly spare them of great suffering, the act itself is cruel.”

    what basis is this claim made?  The state described by the designer is
    brain death, not being in a coma, which is quite different.  While I
    harbor healthy skepticism of this being workable to produce meat of any
    quality, I cannot see at this point how killing the chicken earlier in
    the process is cruel.  Cruelty requires that the subject has some
    awareness of what is being done.  If there is no awareness, then it
    might be inhumane (which is a descriptor of what happens to the
    perpetrator), but not cruel.

    “It might actually spread to a real-life Matrix scenario in which humans, clones
    most certainly, are raised for body parts, organs and stem cells.”

    the simple refutation for that is why farm them when you can have your
    tyrannical friends in another country (China, say) harvest them from
    criminals?  Saves one all the costs of raising stock.  If you have a
    culture that values life, this is unthinkable, no matter the advantages,
    but if you live in a culture where life has it’s price (as it’s always
    been in China- and I’m Chinese, so you can’t accuse me of racism), then
    it become quite plausible without the ‘gateway drug’ of matrix style
    chicken farming.  Funny so many commentators here are appalled- but I
    wonder if they’re appalled at the number of abortions of convenience
    that happen worldwide every day.  Somehow, I doubt it. 

  14. Tallis Holowka

    You’re right, RS.  As it is the ubiquitous chicken is one of the most popular meats in the world, despite the well known cruelties involved in raising them.  So why should an alternate, similarly cruel method be any different.  Unfortunately as compassionate as humans would like to think themselves as, they will turn a blind eye for sake of convenience and/ or profit.

  15. Mysteriousmistymoon

    So glad i gave up meat years ago ! Im vegan now After seeing this insanity i think its time for people to either cut back on meat intake and make sure what brand they buy isn’t a torture factory. That looks like something out of a sci fi movie. and is disgusting. 

  16. Michael291

    I disagree with your assertion that there are no “small compromises.”  The “slippy slope” argument implies that people can not determine what is reasonable, and I fundamentally disagree with this.  We each makes judgments involving a reasonable balance of values, resources, needs, and desires all the time.  If people are starving then it might be reasonable to do this.  

  17. redawn

    i abhor modern agribusiness and agree we need to find something better…this would be something worse. something wicked this way comes.

  18. Rich Stine

     The horrors that encompass the globe can all be traced back to a single culprit: we who call ourselves ‘human’. Parasitic by our very nature, we become grossly enabled further by what we deem intelligence, and fueled by what we choose to embrace as our core belief systems, regardless of the basis for such beliefs. Add to that, the narcissistic ways in which we choose to embrace one set of tenets over others, and we realize that the etymological origins of the very word, ‘humane’ is a bit unnerving.
    We humans have tribes, communities, cultures, true. Whether one is Chinese, a mix of many cultures (as I am…a mutt of sorts!), African, Spanish, White, etc., we, by default of being born human, share in our mutual humanity.  Willingly or unwillingly. One may oppose abortion, for example. Another, may not.  Both belief systems have the potential to affect life as we know it. Whether or not we think the affects of such actionsare right or wrong.

    Another example to consider is that of women in general, and slaves in particular. It is easier to embrace a notion that a group of beings are ‘subhuman’ if we are going to force them to do our labor, be at our beck-and-call, and service us. If we allow ourselves to believe that human life, or other life forms, are merely gifts from a higher power for the use and consumption to our benefit (slaves & women weren’t really considered to have souls by a lot of people throughout history.
    (Ex: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_of_the_Roman_Republic )

    I appreciate your point of view, MW, you make a lot of good points.

    I do not, however, think that you are not racist because you are Chinese. I’d venture to suggest you are not racist because you have made a decision to not be a racist.  Yay!  I’m sick of ignorance at every turn. Maybe being Chinese played a role in your decision, but I doubt that being Chinese, alone, is the reasoning.

    Thanks for adding to the comments. Dialogue is Good.

  19. Rich Stine

     If people are starving, I submit that perhaps it is due to a basic flaw in humanity, the inability to learn from mistakes however intelligent we deem ourselves (repeating history over and over, to our detriment and that of the planet). We humans are the largest, most powerful, and most narcissistic parasites in existence. If we were to find a cure for greed, narcissism,  and godlike complexes, perhaps we could truly feed the world, everyone would be kind for the sake of being kind, no one living thing would be left to suffer, be preyed upon, misused, murdered, or abused.
    I do, indeed, believe we humans need saving…if from nothing but ourselves. *sigh*

  20. Rich Stine

     …except for the conundrum that by doing so sabotages the ethical principle which makes such a deed despicable in the first place.

  21. Rich Stine

     “Anyone who thinks this is a step in a bad direction is clearly unaware of the current techniques…”  

    Well, not so fast, TB. Just because one thinks that this Matrix-Chicken idea “Be-headed” (heh…couldn’t help myself!) in a bad direction, does not mean they are not aware of currently employed practices that are abhorrent.

    When plan A is wrong, let’s try to come up with plan B.  If both plans are left wanting in the ethics department, are we, who are so bright and intelligent a species, unable to come up with a more logical, ethical, righteous plan?

    Perhaps the best choice, one that already is in practice by a few, is that of switching to a vegan diet.

    Clearly, that is the most “humane” (I hate that word, humane.)

    The difficulty lies in our narcissism as a species. We COULD become vegan, but darn!  We’d miss wing night!  And of course, life is all about us….

    Maybe I’m tossing out some extremes here, but how far off the mark am I, really?

  22. Rich Stine

     Interesting question, all ethics aside.
    Let’s maybe try this out on, say, unwanted human fetuses. Does an immobile human develop the same way as a normal one? What do we ascribe to, that we can morally justify doing this to one animate being (a chicken, for example), yet not another (human fetus)?
    Isn’t making decisions, and performing such experiments, a little like suffering from a huge, narcissistic, god-complex?
    But asking the question, I suppose, is, in itself, harmless.

  23. Rich Stine

     I agree.  As a species, we are grossly flawed. One would like to believe that as marvelously creative and intelligent our species is, we would be inclined to define and create ways to eliminate hunger AND cruelty, that our motives could be made pure with a vaccination of some sort.  We are, as a species, need saving. If from no one or thing, other than ourselves. And the rest of the planet needs saving from us.  Yikes!  What a thought, eh?

  24. Eye-Opener

    In the future all the food given to the masses will be genetically modified, or unnatural in some unhealthy way. It will render the population sterile (unable to reproduce), a process which has already begun under all your noses. It will then be up to those in power to decide who has the right to breed and who doesn’t, since they will control the artificial fertilization technology that will be needed by everyone to even get pregnant in the first place. The people will be fed cheap artificial food, but will still be expected to work their asses off in the fields to produce organic food for the elite. All this will most likely come to fruition, since most of you people don’t seem to be aware enough to know what’s going on. Electing the right person into power won’t change anything. Even if we could right now somehow magically kill every banker, CEO, billionaire, and just about every person in the world who knowingly participates in the furthering of this agenda, it would only postpone the inevitable. As long as our system encourages and rewards such behavior from these people in power, there will always come someone to replace them. The problem isn’t these people doing this to the world, the problem is the system that makes them WANT to do this to the world. I encourage all of you to research what many call a “resource based economy” and to watch the Zeitgeist documentary film series. The first step is to get everyone informed on what we as a human civilization are capable of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.