Monday, January 8, 2007

Dogs, chickens and breeding

Was just reading over at Steve Sailer's blog about inbreeding of dogs in Japan to make them cuter (which is rather a national obsession there).

Click here to read it.

Pretty gruesome. Which reminds me of a book I read recently by Temple Grandin, probably America's most famous Autistic. Shes designed about half of all the cattle handling facilities in the US and Canada.

Anyway the book was called "Animals in Translation" and it had some gruesome tales of itself. Like the case of the Rooster Rapists. Roosters and hens were bred to be bigger and more meaty, but this had a strange side-effect on their brains. Generally when a rooster mates it first performs a dance to let the hen know what its going to do. The hen responds by "getting into position" for the deed.

But it so happens that the newly bred roosters brains were somehow changed so that the dance routine was deleted. Ergo the roosters didnt perform the dance, and when they tried to mate with the hen, the hen tried to get away, and the rooster used its claws to literally shred the hen to death. In some cases over 50% of a flock could be lost this way.

You wouldnt think breeding a animal for stronger hearts or meat would do that, but it does. Strange world.

That book is an interesting read.

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