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Naked chickens from Israel: are they a boon or a bane? (Meat Market Woes).

Even animal rights people may sneak into strip joints to look at naked chicks from time to time. But they draw the line at naked chickens, and they're really furious about the breeding of naked chickens by an Israeli research institute.

"It's a monster of an animal," Spencer Fitzgibbon of the Green Party said of the featherless biped developed at the Rehovot Institute near Tel Aviv. "I think it will have a traumatic effect on animals and the public will be horrified," added Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth.

Israel geneticist Avigdor Cahaner couldn't see what all the furor was about. Naked chickens make sense, he explained, because they don't have to be plucked and can be raised more cheaply and easily, especially in hot climates where "normal" chickens can overheat and die. What's more, he said, naked chickens have less fat and more lean meat.

Environmental Plus?

"Feathers are a waste," he told an on-line news service in London. "The chickens are using feed to produce something that has to be dumped." And speaking of dumping, he added, naked chickens are better for the environment because it takes less water and electricity to raise and process them, and feathers and polluted water won't burden the environment.

Naked chickens should be a godsend to farmers in Third World countries who can't afford cooling systems for their henhouses, Cahaner said. They won't get sunburned because they'll be raised indoors like most other chickens these days, and consumers will like them better because they won't get bruised from plucking.

The first few dozen naked chickens were produced by crossbreeding normal chickens with birds already partly bald from a "naked neck" gene. Cahaner said they could be produced on a commercial scale within two years.
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Comment:Naked chickens from Israel: are they a boon or a bane? (Meat Market Woes).
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:7ISRA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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