What if we could raise healthier and bigger chickens on a large scale without using tons of antibiotics? That's what farmers in the Netherlands are trying to do, reports Slate, using a specially-designed indoor housing system. The system is part of a production technique developed by Dutch company Vencomatic. It allows farmers to hatch and raise chickens in the same facility, instead of having to transport them from hatchery to farm shortly after they emerge. This puts less stress on the chicks, the company says, and gives them a chance to eat and drink immediately after they hatch.
The farmers have therefore been able to skip antibiotics because the birds' immune systems are stronger than the average. And there appears to be little compromise on the manufacturing side because the facility still manages to raise 30,000 chickens at a time. It's not perfect, of course, because the animals still spend their lives in a warehouse. But from a human health point of view, the idea is innovative, given that it won't lead to the creation of antibiotic resistant microbes. Check out the full report at Slate.