Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 273–280 | Cite as

Broiler Chickens and a Critique of the Epistemic Foundations of Animal Modification

Articles

Abstract

Within this paper, I critique the history of the modification of the broiler chicken through selective breeding and possible future genetic modification. I utilize Margaret Atwood’s fictitious depiction of genetically engineered chickens, from her novel Oryx and Crake, in order to forward the argument that modifications that eliminate animal telos either move beyond the range of current ethical frameworks or can be ethically defended by them. I then utilize the work of feminist epistemologists to argue that understanding what it means to be a chicken shapes our conceptions of what modifications are or are not acceptable. Taking into account justifications stemming from practical knowledge when making ontological claims can help to shift our understanding of what animal modifications can or cannot be justified. The paper ends by addressing three possible problems brought about by accepting such justifications.

Keywords

Philosophy of agriculture Agriculture Selective breeding Genetic modification Animal husbandry Animal ethics Animal metaphysics Ontology Epistemology Chickens 

References

  1. Alcoff, L., & Dalmiya, V. (1993). Are old wives’ tales justified? In E. Potter & L. M. Alcoff (Eds.), Feminist epistemologies (pp. 217–244). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Atwood, M. (2004). Oryx and crake. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  3. Boyd, W. (2001). Making meat: Science, technology, and American poultry production. Technology and Culture, 42(4), 631–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gentle, M. J. (2011). Pain issues in poultry. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/905213640?accounti=12598. Accessed 24 Nov 2011. TBP.
  5. Grandin, T. (2005). Animals in translation. New York: Harcourt Books, Inc.Google Scholar
  6. Greger, M. (2010). Trait selection and welfare of genetically engineered animals in agriculture. Journal of Animal Science, 88(2), 811–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Greger, M. (2011). Transgenesis in animal agriculture: Addressing animal health and welfare concerns. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 24(5), 451–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lafollette, H., & Shanks, N. (1996). Brute science: Dilemmas of animal experimentation. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Nordquist, R. E., Heerkens, J. L. T., Rodenburg, T. B., Boks, S., Ellen, E. D., & Van der Staay, F. J. (2011). Laying hens selected for low mortality: Behaviour in tests of fearfulness, anxiety and cognition. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 131(3–4), 110–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Prather, R., Shen, M., & Dai, Y. (2008). Genetically modified pigs for medicine and agriculture. Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews, 25, 245–266.Google Scholar
  11. Regan, T. (2003). Animal rights, human wrongs. Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Rodenburg, T. B., de Haas, E. N., Nielsen, B. L., & Buitenhuis, A. J. (2010). Fearfulness and feather damage in laying hens divergently selected for high and low feather pecking. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 128(1–4), 91–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rollin, B. E. (2003). On telos and genetic engineering. In S. J. Armstrong & R. G. Botzler (Eds.), The animal ethics reader (pp. 342–350). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Thompson, P. B. (2008). Animal biotechnology: How not to presume. American Journal of Bioethics, 8(6), 49–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Thorp, B. H. (1994). Skeletal disorders in the fowl: A review. Avian Pathology, 23, 203–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMichigan State UniversityLansingUSA

Personalised recommendations