“Farming the Unconscious" proposes an alternative way of growing chickens for food: embedding them into a matrix. Free from cruelty, the chickens are unconscious, and free of pain and disease. They are well fed, healthy, and stress free because they are kept out of cages (and not awake) thus responding to ethical arguments against factory farming.
As long as their brain stem is intact, the homeostatic functions of the chicken will continue to operate. By removing the cerebral cortex of the chicken, its sensory perceptions are removed.
It can be produced in a denser condition while remaining alive, and oblivious.The feet will also be removed so the body of the chicken can be packed together in a dense volume.
Food, water and air are delivered via an arterial network and excreta is removed in the same manner. Around 1000 chickens will be packed into each ‘leaf’, which forms part of a moving, productive system.
The model shows that the chickens take up less space than traditional factory farming. The chickens are “plugged in” to the system, there by eliminating the need for clean up of waste.
The model in the exhibition showed the system in which a chicken would be grown at The Centre for Unconscious Farming. Feed lines provide sustenance, excreata lines remove waste, electrodes stimulate muscle growth.
The proposal is by architecture student, André Ford, who looked at eliminated not only the problem of intense agricultural farming techniques, but also looked at eliminating cruelty:
One of the students of the course, André Ford, looked at the intensification of the broiler chicken industry. Each year, the UK raises and kills 800 million chickens or ‘broilers’ for their meat. Broiler rearing might be unethical and unsustainable but it is now the most intensified and automated type of livestock production.
Broiler chickens spend their 6-7week lives in windowless sheds, each containing around 40,000 birds. They are selectively bred to grow faster than they would naturally which often causes skeletal problems and lameness.
Many die because their hearts and lungs cannot keep up with their rapid growth. Information about the atrocious conditions in which they are raised can be found online.
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