Factory farmed chickens designated for dinner plates may have a very new lifestyle if an architecture student at Royal College of Art, André Ford, has his way. Ford wants to revamp the entire life of a factory-raised chicken by turning to vertical chicken farms. These Matrix-like structures would be able to raise thousands of poultry by packing 1,000 lobotomized chickens onto each ‘leaf’ of the structure.
Ford feels his idea would end the uncomfortable living conditions of factory-raised birds and meet the demands of an ever-growing demand for poultry.
He claims his idea is one of pragmatism and that it would be more widely accepted if “we stopped using the term ‘animal’ when referring to the precursor of the meat that ends up on our plates. Animals are things we keep in our homes and watch on David Attenborough programs. ‘Animals’ bred for consumption are crops and agricultural products like an other. We do not, and cannot, provide adequate welfare for these agricultural products and therefore welfare should be removed entirely.”
The structure that Ford proposes would lobotomize chickens by removing the cerebal cortex and the chickens feet, so that more could be packed on to each ‘leaf’. The structure would also provide food, water and air to the living chickens via an arterial network that would remove excreta in the same manner.
Currenly factory-raised broiler chickens are kept in cramped, close quarters and are selectively bred and genetically altered to produce bigger thighs and breasts. 6 billion chickens a year are slaughtered for the broiler chicken industry. The chickens bred in factory farms live approximately seven weeks before they are slaughtered at the ideal market weight of 3 ½ lbs.
Ford sees his idea of lobotomizing chickens and raising them in a Matrix-like structure as one that is beneficial to the industry and to the birds because it would make the bird’s already doomed existence a much easier one. His original idea was not to lobotomize the chickens but to remove the heads of the birds entirely for the sake of desensitizing the birds. However that would affect the rest of the birds body functionality in growing big enough to be purchased for someone’s dinner.