Single Trait Selection
Today I am going to touch on the agricultural abomination known as “single trait selection.” STS has been used in the breeding of most animals for hundreds of years. If you have a specialty dog it was more than likely a product of STS. It was bread to have those long ears or that powerful upper body or the webbed feet. The breeders found a trait in one animal that seemed beneficial and bread more animals that had that trait. Sooner or later it becomes a focal point of an entire breed.
It’s OK to do it to dogs, but what about chickens? There is a breed of chickens that have been created called the Cornish Cross. Last year I got some because I heard they were good meat chickens as opposed to being good layers. What I quickly found out was that they were Franken-Birds. As soon as they got their feathers they were so enormous that they could barely walk. They would sit or lay down in or around their food source and never move and never stop eating. In weeks they became larger than any chicken I had ever seen. I let them live even longer, close to four months before I slaughtered them. They were the size of turkeys, probably 20 pounds each.
These chickens were bread for meat. They are too fat to breed to one another, all fertilization is done artificially. Another thing is that within six months this breed usually dies of a heart attack. An observer can see it coming because their red combs and wattles turn blue a couple of days before they die. When they die it is called "Flip-Over Disease."
As I said I slaughtered mine and it was problematic since they were too large to fit in the killing cone. They met their fate on a stump with a hatchet. However, even while I was eating them I couldn’t get over the fact that I was eating some weird mutant of single trait selection.
I was offered some Cornish Crosses this year and I quickly turned down the offer. It was painful to look at them constantly wallowing in their food. Yes, they are quick meat producer and can be slaughtered before most other chicks get fully in feather, but there is just something wrong with it. It’s just wrong…that’s all.