Chickens are like people

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This article is from “Chickens. They’re human. Well, almost. At the very least they deserve to be treated humanely.” 

It is based on a recent article by Carolynn “K-lynn” L. Smith, a research fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and Sarah L. Zielinski, a freelance science writer in Washington, D.C. 

Smith and Zielinski state that  “mounting evidence indicates that the common chicken is much smarter than it has been given credit for. The birds are cunning, devious and capable of empathy. And they have sophisticated communication skills. That chickens are so brainy hints that such intelligence is more common in the animal kingdom than once thought. This emerging picture of the chicken mind also has ethical implications for how society treats farmed birds.”

According to the authors, hens are able to remember which rooster has done what in the past and can turn their back to those that are mean and deceptive. They are also able to find different escape routes depending on the danger, they have personalities and each of them is an individual with its own likes and dislikes, its friends and enemies, it’s own routine and family. Just like us.

In an experiment conducted by Smith, a hen was able to diffuse a mechanism in order to get to food much faster than waiting for the door to open.

All these fascinating findings are shaping the future of farmed chickens and positively influencing change in their housing and welfare.  

Although I am a vegetarian, I find it hard that meat eaters accept to eat a meat that has been mistreated and denied the basics requirements of living. Surely the meat builds up some toxins when the environment and welfare of the animals have been so detrimental that chickens engineered for meat have their lives cut short at 18 months instead of 10 years. If they lived longer, they would become sick and deformed. Quite few things to ponder.

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