Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mis-henthropy Corner

From the same issue of Maclean's as the item below, an article by Julia McKinnell reports that efforts by geneticists to produce bigger-breasted chickens may have resulted in them tampering with and deleting the gene responsible for rooster courtship, with the result that roosters have begun murdering and raping hens.

The article presents the views of Ian Duncan from the University of Guelph, who says that, initially, the rape reports he was receiving pertained only to one line of rooster but that, within 18 months, there were reports of the same problem in other lines. Duncan is quoted as saying, "there are very few normal roosters" in North America.

It's Duncan's belief that geneticists have been selecting roosters that are more "forward" in their attitudes to hens because of a fear of declining fertility rates, when they should have been selecting roosters that court hens. This may have led to an increase in aggressiveness being selected for.

So not only are we bad animals, we're making other animals bad too.

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