“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.
I’m no supporter of PETA, but this is interesting to me because it furthers, or at least tightens, the better arguments that some species are in need of stronger federal protections beyond the Endangered Species Act - especially in the new context of climate change. Antiquated laws need to be updated to address a new, unforeseen reality and accommodate new information. Things like stronger habitat protection with higher fines for violations; clear recovery plans for threatened species; and tighter restrictions on land-use development, especially mining and drilling. More on those issues, here.
PETA lost their case because the 13th amendment clearly establishes rights for people, but not animals. I’m surprised the case got as far as it did…
The case is one of the boldest attempts yet to establish legal rights for animals, and the first to attempt to do so on constitutional grounds. But some groups that support legal rights for animals say PETA’s case may end up hurting the cause.
PETA’s suit, filed in October, argued that the orcas “were forcibly taken from their families and natural habitats” and forced to live in “barren concrete tanks in unnatural physical and social conditions.” Noting that orcas have highly developed brains and complex social lives, PETA argued that the animals deserve the same protection as humans under the 13th Amendment. SeaWorld countered that the 13th Amendment, adopted in 1865, was intended to apply specifically to human beings enslaved by other human beings. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller agreed, ruling that “the only reasonable interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s plain language is that it applies to persons, and not to non-persons such as orcas.”
“It was a foolish suit and a sure loser,” says Steven Wise, president and founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NHRP), which seeks to establish personhood and legal rights for animals. Wise argues that bringing a case in federal court on constitutional grounds was a huge mistake.
Basically, this act protects industry chicken farmers from PETA activists. Also, have you noticed the quality of Wikipedia articles has increased lately??
The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) is a United States federal law (Pub.L. 109-374; 18 U.S.C.§ 43) that prohibits any person from engaging in certain conduct “for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise.” The statute covers any act that either “damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property” or “places a person in reasonable fear” of injury. The law contains a savings clause that indicates it should not be construed to “prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibition by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”  However, by its own terms, the statute criminalizes acts such as “intimidation.” And prosecutions under AETA require using evidence of otherwise lawful free speech in order to demonstrate a “course of conduct” as proof of purpose or possible conspiracy. 
Tim Woody, editor of Alaska Magazine, who is absolutely not a lover of PETA et al, f’n slams the use of trapping. A touching piece.
“This is no way to see a beautiful animal.
We were rambling across the Portage flats in search of a decent trail on Saturday when my friend Mark stopped at the edge of a copse of alders. A few feet into the brush, a large, healthy wolf lowered itself back to the snow, exhausted and in pain, its right front leg crushed by a steel-jawed trap.
The wolf’s struggle was evident for yards around the wooden post to which the trap was anchored. Trampled snow was covered with splintered wood, chunks of ice, and blood spatters. But this once-powerful animal was done fighting. Its eyes watched us, but it was too tired to hold its head up and track our movements. Its breathing was shallow. We wondered how long it had been there facing its slow, painful death. There is no state law mandating how frequently trappers must check their traplines.
We wished we had a pistol, because the scene in front of us was one of dreadful suffering. A merciful bullet would have made everyone feel better. There was nothing we could do except spare the wolf further anxiety by continuing on our way.
Later, as we returned to our vehicle, we saw two men with rifles as they carried game bags full of snowshoe hares back to their truck. They agreed to follow Mark’s directions to the wolf, in hope of putting it out of its misery.
The scene haunted our group of four for the rest of the day. We all hoped the hunters had found it.
I’m not a big softy when it comes to animals. I don’t much care for dogs or cats, and I never met a juicy steak I didn’t like. If I put a PETA sticker on my truck, it would be the one bearing fine print that says, “People Eating Tasty Animals.” I’ve clubbed my share of salmon, and the only reason I don’t shoot a moose every fall is that it takes too much vacation time I’d rather spend doing something else.
But I believe in killing humanely. And what I saw on the Portage flats was anything but humane.”
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
Professional and sponsorship inquiries, please