Would you eat brainless animals?

  1. This is sort of an alternative to the 'would you eat cultured meat' question. What if we could engineer animals without conciousness (sentience)? Would it be cruelty free? Would you eat it?

    Example:

    http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/02/headless-chicken-solution/

    I find it terrifying in a way. Especially if the solution is just lobotomizing live chickens. That's like killing it twice to me.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. I think this raises just as many ethical issues as it solves, so I don't think it's the solution to cruelty in factory farming.
     
  4. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

    Wow. It's both very creepy and very logical.

    My aversion to this, and to the cultured meat: I make a big effort to not eat processed foods. I'm not militant about it, I just prefer to eat things as close to their natural state as possible.

    So no, I don't think I'd eat brainless animals.
     
  5. Humans are omnivores, embrace it don't hate it.
     
  6. Say's who ?
     
  7. phinds

    phinds 8,332
    Gold Member

    I've always considered chickens to be brainless animals and I love to eat them.
     
  8. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    How much would it cost to do this to chickens, even if it was possible that they would be easy to keep?
     
  9. lisab

    Staff: Mentor

  10. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,596
    Gold Member

    I'm not motivated to eat anything other than wild animals or active livestock for meat. I think a quick death avoids cruelty (as long as the coral is curved thanks to Temple Grandin, so that the other cows don't see it coming).
     
  11. Something I always appreciated about Judaism is the dietary proscriptions on how the animal must be killed. Shechita is supposedly to render the animal unconcious within seconds.

    Yet, it was PETA (of all the nefarious animal welfare groups out there?) that uncovered evidence of the mistreatment of animals in kosher slaughterhouses. Anyway, their target audience is youths (so are safe to ignore honestly), and this thread isn't concerning them to begin with.


    I wonder if there is a way to engineer animals to be born on a factory scale without cerebral cortices? The technological hurdles and especially costs associated would probably be lower than in vitro meat. In that regard this may be a better solution.
     
  12. In a heartbeat, factory-conditions are animal cruelty.
     
  13. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Agreed. It's just replacing one cruelty with another, whilst people may argue that there is an overall reduction in cruelty/pain I think a better answer would be to heavily regulate the industry to prevent this kind of thing.
     
  14. Moonbear

    Moonbear 12,266
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This whole process requires an awful lot of anthropomorphizing about animal husbandry conditions as a premise, and assumes current conditions for raising animals are cruel. I disagree with those premises, and think it is better to maintain humane conditions for the animals than to start decerebrating animals (wouldn't work anyway...no pain sensation would also mean they are unaware of when they injure themselves, removing the entire cortex also removes motor control, which would mean atrophied muscles, among other issues). Worse, if animals get packed closer together, you also increase risks from disease spread through the whole flock or herd.

    Likewise, the idea of a blind chicken as beneficial could have only been hatched up by someone completely ignorant about chickens (sadly, as much of the population becomes further removed from the sources of their food and grows up never even seeing an actual chicken or cow, let alone being involved in caring for them, they become more and more gullible to the anti-meat propaganda). Chickens, being birds, are very reliant on their sense of vision, especially for finding food. They aren't like dogs who can sniff their way to the food dish if they become blind, or humans who can feel their way.
     
  15. I agree that blinding them is just crazy. Yet, I think you're wrong in that huge segments of the meat supply industry do use cruel methods to produce chickens. If the cortex was removed with the brain stem intact, they'd be fully capable of chicken-like behaviors.

    On second thought, without testing whether a chickens sans cortex is phenomonally conscious I'm fully against it. This just opens more avenues to abuse in a way. Back to cultured meat bandwagon for me.
     
  16. I only eat free range chickens and I only eat free range eggs. This is a personal choice that I can't afford most of the time, but I can't bring myself to eat the alternative. I don't believe that turning the animal into a vegetable would make any difference to my decision. I would just see it as another symptom of an unfortunate truth.

    There will always be an abundance of people who can only afford to buy the cheapest meat available, ergo the demand for low-cost mass produced factory raised chickens will always be high. It would be nice if everyone could afford to buy the free range corn fed chickens that get to cluck around in the sun all day, but it's never going to happen unless people stop buying the cheap stuff and demand better quality produce.
     
  17. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The term "free range" is pretty meaningless. All it means is that some chickens might have access to an open door for 5 minutes. If you're paying more, you're more than likely getting ripped off.

    What you are thinking you're getting is "pastured" chicken.

    http://www.salon.com/2011/01/20/what_chicken_labels_really_mean/
     
  18. i am veg. But if i were non veg. It would not be so much about braininess as it would be about economy.
    Culture production would definitely be more expensive that normal.
    I guess so.
     
  19. I'm not from the USA. In my country, "free-range", by law, means the chickens freely run around an outdoor range for at least 8 hours per day, and are generally corn fed and able to hunt for insects. Usually, free range chicken farmers will also raise slower growing breeds rather than the faster growing breeds used for mass production. All these differences result in meat that looks, feels and tastes very different to the meat that is produced for, and sold to the masses. I'm also fortunate in that I can trace the meat that I buy back to the farm where it was reared and slaughtered. Sure, I pay a little more for all this, but I feel it's worth it.
     
  20. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean 4,596
    Gold Member

    Even in th US, many free-range farmers actually allow their chickens to range several hours a day. You should know the farm, though, because they can get away with it if they don't care about farm image.
     
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