Archive for Chickens
www.bbc.co.uk 1st April 2011
New research published in the American Chemical Society has suggested that the billions of waste chicken feathers discarded from meat processing factories could be used to make a new series of strong, lighter plastics. Feathers, like hair and fingernails, are made up of a chemically stable protein called keratin, which, once added to methyl acrylate, creates “a potential substitute for petroleum products”. The manner of the process put froward by Yiqi Yang, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, means that the end product will contain more than 50% chicken feather fibres. ”If used as composite materials, no polyethylene or polypropylene [petroleum based chemicals] are needed. Therefore [the plastics] will be more degradable and more sustainable,” Professor Yang said to the BBC. The new material is still in the trial stages and larger scales tests are needed to test its commercial feasibility. The USA alone discards around 1 billion kilograms of chicken feathers every year.
www.independent.co.uk 4th November 2010
The RSPCA have released a report stating that two of the world’s biggest poultry exporters, Brazil and Thailand, have better animal welfare standards than farms in the UK. Three of the main comparisons were between the amount of space each chicken was allowed (13 chickens per square metre in Thailand compared to 20 in the UK), how long chickens were allowed to grow (42 days in Thailand, 35 in the UK), and how much rest a chicken is allowed a day (Thailand: 6 hours, UK: 4). Dr. Marc Cooper of the RSPCA said that, rather than presuming that standards are better in the UK, generally the reverse is true. This may be seen as good news by supermarkets who have increasingly imported foreign poultry to cut costs. In 1996, only £36 million worth was imported compared to the £510 million in 2009. £292 million of this amount came from Thailand. However, Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, simply retorted: “I don’t think Marc Cooper is right”. The RSPCA report coincided with video footage released by the Vegetarian Organisation Viva! showing a ‘conveyor belt of death’ for male chicks not wanted by the egg production industry. Every year between 30 and 40 million are killed in gas chambers and meat-mincers.