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Researchers Ask: What Makes Chickens Happy?

时间:2018-12-26 16:05来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]


How do you measure a chicken’s happiness? Is it in the way it runs for food? Or by how much time it spends cleaning itself?

To find the answers to these questions, researchers in Canada are putting 16 kinds of chickens through a series physical and mental tests.

They are watching how well the birds can climb over a barrier for food, how nervous they appear and whether they play with a fake worm. Chickens cannot say how they feel, but researchers believe that playing with the worm might be a sign of happiness.

The researchers are with Ontario’s University of Guelph. Stephanie Torrey is one of the researchers. Torrey said the animal welfare world wants to do more than just reduce suffering. Now, researchers aim to learn if and how animals can really enjoy their lives.

Supporters of animal welfare say the poor treatment of chickens begins with birds that have been bred to have breasts so big they cannot fully1 walk. They say today’s chickens are unusually huge and in great pain. They say the industry needs to change breeds.

Many in the chicken industry say there is no problem. They say that broiler chickens – the most commonly used bird -- may not move around a lot because they do not have a lot of energy. Even if the industry agreed to change breeds, it is not clear what the new birds should look like.

The two sides also disagree about the cause and frequency of health issues among chickens.

Chicken companies Tyson and Sanderson Farms, for example, admit that the size of chicken breasts has increased greatly over the years. But both say they are not seeing widespread problems as a result.

John Glisson of the U.S. Poultry2 and Egg Association says broiler chickens are especially inactive by nature. Some people may mistake the birds’ inactivity for a medical problem.

The industry says changing chicken breeds would be costly3 in several ways. Changing to broiler chickens that do not grow as big or as fast would mean using up more water and other resources. Chicken prices at food stores would be higher, too.

Still, animal welfare is becoming a bigger public image concern. Companies say they are always looking for ways to take better care of their chickens.

Tyson recently ran a trial in which it let chickens choose from living areas with differing levels of light. And company Perdue is testing giving its usual birds as much light and space as its organic birds.

The Humane4 Society of the United States says improving chickens’ living conditions helps. But, it believes the bigger problem is breeding that has resulted in misshapen chickens. It says chickens have been genetically5 changed to be so huge that their legs cannot support them.

“It is crazy for anyone to have to remind the industry that birds naturally walk,” said Josh Balk6, the Humane Society’s vice7 president of farm animal protection.

Balk said the study in Canada will provide important information on what breeds of chickens might suffer less.

University of Guelph researchers are also examining chicken qualities such as weight, growth rate and meat quality. They hope the information will be useful to the industry.

Several companies say they already track health and welfare themselves. Still, they are interested in the research.

The Guelph study is supported by the Global Animal Partnership8, which certifies9 corporate10 animal welfare requirements. In 2016, it launched a campaign to get companies to change to “slower growing” breeds of chickens. Since then, it has admitted that chicken welfare is more complex than just growth rate.

It is now pushing for a “better” chicken, and hopes the study will help define what that means.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Words in This Story

fake - adj. not true or real

welfare - n. the state of being happy, healthy, or successful; well-being11

frequency - n. the fact or condition of happening often

organic - adj. grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals

track - v. to follow and find (someone or something) especially by looking at evidence

certify12 - v. to say officially that something or someone has met certain standards or requirements


1 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
2 poultry GPQxh     
  • There is not much poultry in the shops. 商店里禽肉不太多。
  • What do you feed the poultry on? 你们用什么饲料喂养家禽?
3 costly 7zXxh     
  • It must be very costly to keep up a house like this.维修这么一幢房子一定很昂贵。
  • This dictionary is very useful,only it is a bit costly.这本词典很有用,左不过贵了些。
4 humane Uymy0     
  • Is it humane to kill animals for food?宰杀牲畜来吃合乎人道吗?
  • Their aim is for a more just and humane society.他们的目标是建立一个更加公正、博爱的社会。
5 genetically Lgixo     
  • All the bees in the colony are genetically related. 同一群体的蜜蜂都有亲缘关系。
  • Genetically modified foods have already arrived on American dinner tables. 经基因改造加工过的食物已端上了美国人的餐桌。 来自英汉非文学 - 生命科学 - 基因与食物
6 balk RP2y1     
  • We get strong indications that his agent would balk at that request.我们得到的强烈暗示是他的经纪人会回避那个要求。
  • He shored up the wall with a thick balk of wood.他用一根粗大的木头把墙撑住。
7 vice NU0zQ     
  • He guarded himself against vice.他避免染上坏习惯。
  • They are sunk in the depth of vice.他们堕入了罪恶的深渊。
8 partnership NmfzPy     
  • The company has gone into partnership with Swiss Bank Corporation.这家公司已经和瑞士银行公司建立合作关系。
  • Martin has taken him into general partnership in his company.马丁已让他成为公司的普通合伙人。
9 certifies 9ef675aeec5aa72e0576e2bb0bb20651     
(尤指书面)证明( certify的第三人称单数 ); 发证书给…; 证明(某人)患有精神病; 颁发(或授予)专业合格证书
  • Authority certifies the identity of sites on the internet. 权威负责向Internet网站授予其标识。
  • The paper then certifies this algorithm by infrared image processing. 并且文中使用红外图像对这个算法进行了验证。
10 corporate 7olzl     
  • This is our corporate responsibility.这是我们共同的责任。
  • His corporate's life will be as short as a rabbit's tail.他的公司的寿命是兔子尾巴长不了。
11 well-being Fe3zbn     
  • He always has the well-being of the masses at heart.他总是把群众的疾苦挂在心上。
  • My concern for their well-being was misunderstood as interference.我关心他们的幸福,却被误解为多管闲事。
12 certify tOozp     
  • I can certify to his good character.我可以证明他品德好。
  • This swimming certificate is to certify that I can swim one hundred meters.这张游泳证是用以证明我可以游100米远。
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