the modernist chicken

a chicken tractor: the new hybrid-cyborg on the block

Yesterday’s To the Point broadcast explored some very powerful ideas about systems, system management, and how systems change depending on parameters.

Synopsis from radio show’s site:

Egg Safety, Animal Rights, and Industrial Farming

Two massive egg farms thought responsible for a nationwide outbreak of salmonella were never inspected by federal agencies or the State of Iowa. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration finally adopted egg regulations. Yesterday, FDA inspectors reported filthy conditions at the two Iowa mega-farms that have recalled a half billion eggs because of the salmonella outbreak: barns pock-marked with holes chewed by rodents; chickens and mice crawling up manure piles eight feet high; innumerable flies and maggots. What are the consequences for food safety and animal rights? Are there cleaner, more humane methods of producing cheap eggs for millions of consumers?

Guests:

Questions after listening:
Does the industrial farm factory actually design itself around the individual chicken?  Should it order itself around a flock of chickens?  And the biggest question of all: is a chicken even really a chicken if it is in isolation?  CAN WE EXIST ALONE?????

To further examine the galline aspects of this question, I present the following diagram

this represents a part of one argument submitted during the radio broadcast.  The argument generally followed as–

Post-Fordian Chicken Harvester: You can’t put chickens in an assembly line, it subtracts from their “chicken-ness.”
Industrial Chicken Machinist:
A chicken desires to be (x) distance from his neighbor, so I set all the chickens in a row (x) distance from their neighbors.  Even when you give chickens a lot of space, they prefer this distance.  Even in your chicken tractor system, it is so.  I provide the chickens with what their true nature wants.
Post-Fordian Chicken Harvester: You aren’t paying enough attention to other factors in the chicken system.  I.E., limits to group size, flocking patterns, foraging needs.
Industrial Chicken Machinist: It does not matter what system you put the chickens into, constructed systems will fail if they are poorly managed.
Post-Fordian Chicken Harvester: Just because this is true does not mean we should not strive to find better, more efficient/elegant system solutions.

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