Final Project!

picture above shows a few of my pet chickens

For my Final Project, I will be expanding from my Mini project 1 and 3, that can be found on my blog,  but adding a twist. In my mini project 1, I explained how we use animals, I chose cows, but it can apply to chickens, as a standing reserve-for our own goods. In my mini project 3, I explained the sources of the chicken and how the egg became what it is, and all that went into producing that egg. 

A typical person  may think a chicken is just a source of food; chicken nuggets, fried chicken legs, chicken breasts, or eggs. For me, a chicken is a pet and a part of my daily life. When I walk out of my front door, I see about 30 chickens and their home, a 20’x15’ coop. They have about 6 acres for roam on, and will always return back to their coop at sunset. Fun fact: chickens cannot see in the dark like some other animals. In a day, we (any member of my family), will go out two times a day to give the chickens water, feed, and gather eggs. About once a month, we will need to empty out the dirty straw and replace it with fresh straw, so they can have a clean living space. Our chickens are a part of our daily lives, and they are cared for like any other pet. When one of our chickens is injured or sick, I feel remorse and try to help. When one of our chickens passes away, I will feel down. We do not use our chickens for meat, but we do eat their eggs. When the pandemic hit and it was a challenge to find eggs in the stores, we gave away dozens of egg cartons to our neighbors and family close by. Conveniently, it was spring which is the time where we get more eggs than usual, due to Spring being a season where chickens lay the most eggs. Another benefit of having chickens as pets, is that they will eat bugs and kill snakes that are in our area, reducing the amount around our house. I care for my chickens like another person will care for their  dogs or cats. So, the question is, why are chickens treated so poorly in other places?

An estimated 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for food and 305 billion Hens are used for their eggs each year. The vast majority of these animals spend their lives in total confinement—from the moment they hatch until the day they are killed.More chickens are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined. Chickens are inquisitive, interesting animals who are as intelligent as mammals such as cats, dogs, and even some primates. They are very social and like to spend their days together, scratching for food, taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and lying in the sun. But chickens raised on factory farms each year in the U.S. never have the chance to do anything that’s natural or important to them (PETA). 

I must provide a trigger warning, as this video attached contains very disturbing content, but it will give a sense of the sad reality of what chickens are put through when in big factories. Do not feel as though you HAVE to watch it in order to proceed with this post, as it is just a visual perspective. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-RwqjtQmm8

Relating to readings from this class, Philosophy and Technology, I will use Roger J. H. King’s reading,“Eating Well: Thinking Ethically About Food”. In this reading, he basically says something along the lines of, we are what we eat. “Our habits of eating also create relationships to animals and to the soil”. He talked about how we are killing millions/billions of animals each year for our own good. “The meat industry is the largest consumer of freshwater in the country and a major consumer of land and grain crops. The conditions in which animals can be housed profitably for mass- market consumption require extensive use of hormones and antibiotics, relating both the meat industry and consumers of meat to the pharmaceutical industry. The concentration of animals in feedlots before they are slaughtered creates vast amounts of waste that can pollute local waters, poison fish, and harm human health”. By mass-housing and slaughtering these animals, we are doing more harm than health. Though you may think it is worth it, due to chicken and other animals being food at the dinner table, there are always other options and resources to fulfill these needs. 

Now, looking into the article, PUPPIES, PIGS, AND PEOPLE: EATING MEAT AND MARGINAL CASES, by Alastair Norcross at Rice University. In this reading, the author discusses how people see such a difference in the mistreatment of puppies, but not pigs. “Consider the case of chickens, the most cruelly treated of all animals raised for human consumption, with the possible exception of veal calves. Suppose that the industry is sensitive to a reduction in demand for chicken equivalent to 10,000 people becoming vegetarians. For each group of 10,000 who give up chicken, a quarter of a million fewer chickens are bred per year. It appears, then, that if you give up eating chicken, you have only a one in ten thousand chance of making any difference to the lives of chickens, unless it is certain that fewer than 10,000 people will ever give up eating chicken, in which case you have no chance. Isn’t a one in ten thousand chance small enough to render your con- tinued consumption of chicken blameless? Not at all. While the chance that your behavior is harmful may be small, the harm that is risked is enormous. The larger the numbers needed to make a difference to chicken production, the larger the difference such numbers would make. A one in ten thousand chance of saving 250,000 chickens per year from excruciating lives is morally and mathematically equivalent to the certainty of saving 25 chickens per year. We commonly accept that even small risks of great harms are unacceptable”. We look at these numbers, and selfishly think to ourselves that we do not make a difference, yet we do. We can make a difference, but it has to be one person at a time.

What if more people had small farms? What if we all had a chicken.. or 5..or 50? It would be ideal, but impossible for some, like those living in HOA controlled neighborhoods, apartments, in the city, etc. It will never be possible for everyone to play their part in stopping this, but we can all play a part. Shopping at local farms or farmers markets, where the livestock is cared for and not all of their animals are shoved into cages, malnourished, and/or mistreated can help this. By supporting big industries, we are supporting all the harm that they bring. Personally, my family gets their meat from a local farm about 10 miles down the road from us. Though we will never fully know how they treat their animals, we can easily view their entire farm from the road. The animals there are cows, pigs, and chickens. We can see that there is about 100 acres to roam, a variety of chicken coops, barns, and shelter for them to live, which is reassuring. 

Though there is no plausible or possible ‘solution’ to this issue, we can all play a part in making a small impact. What I would recommend to everyone, is to check into where your chicken on your plate is coming from, or even make a change as to where you buy it, or even, if you can consume less. In 2020, about 25% of people opt for vegan substitutes for meat (dealsonhealth). Why not give it a try? Personally, I find vegan substitutes tasty and filling, and the more I think about it, the better I feel. I am in no way on a vegetarian or vegan diet, but this substituting every once in a while makes me feel better and will make a very small difference, but if I can make even the smallest difference, I do not see the harm in it. Another option in which I believe is very possible, but may be challenging for some, is to give up “Americans favorite chicken fast food restaurant” (not naming any names).

Back to my original point, chickens are my pets, and they are a part of my daily life. When I look at them, I do not see a dinner plate, I see a living, breathing, peaceful animal. It is often hard to determine the line between humanity and greed, especially when it becomes a part of our daily life, and that is something that the technologies have proved to us and will continue to show.

Sources:

https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/

https://philtech.michaelreno.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/King-Eating-Well.pdf

https://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/readings/norcross.pdf

https://dealsonhealth.net/vegetarian-statistics/

Mini Project 3

For Mini Project 3, I am doing a Detailed study of one food item.

My food item is an egg.

This is not a normal store bought egg, though. I got it right in my front yard! At my house, we have about 30 chickens, mostly Rhode Island Red hens. The chickens have a house/shed, with shelf-like slots that they sit and lay eggs in. 

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In this case, I will say, the chicken came first. 

I will be using this Rhode Island Red Chicken for example. 

On a typical day, this chicken will awake at sunrise, eat, walk around the yard, then lay an egg.  

Where did this chicken come from, though?

We purchased this chicken from a local hardware store, at their “free chick” event, last April. 

Where did the hardware store get the chick from?

The Hardware store ordered the chick from a local chicken hatchery in Culpepper, VA. 

Where do they get their chicks from?

The short answer, is that they have existing chickens at their farm and they have rotated throughout the years, kind of like a generational situation. 

That explains where my chicken came from.

The other factor in this situation, is what helped this chicken lay the egg?

Food. Not just regular chicken food, special chicken food. 

Specifically, Purina Layena Omega-3 Poultry and Chicken feed. 

This feed contains Omega-3, which contains nutrients that boost and support the hardening of the egg shell. 

Below are the nutritional benefits of Purina Layena Omega-3 Poultry and Chicken feed:

Added egg nutrition

Formulated to produce a large egg that contains 250 mg omega-3 fatty acids as compared to a traditional, store-bought large egg that contains 50 mg of omega-3 fatty acids

Includes the Oyster Strong® System

Large-particle calcium breaks down steadily, so calcium is available during the entire egg formation process

16% protein, 3.50% calcium

Maintains hen health and supports consistent egg production

Essential amino acids

Enhanced with lysine and methionine to help produce wholesome eggs and beautiful feathering

Prebiotics and probiotics

Supports immune and digestive health

Added marigold extract

For brightly colored yolks

SO, bringing back to the question of, where did this egg come from?

The short answer is a Chick Hatchery in Culpepper, VA, and a bag of Purina Layena Omega-3 Poultry and Chicken feed.

https://www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed/products/detail/purina-layena-omega-3

Blog 6

If you could pick out features of your child, what would you choose? Math genius? No allergies? Strong muscles? Strong heart? Strong lungs?

We all dream for our children to have and be the best person they can be. But, if there were a way to manipulate this would you? Would you take the chance to manipulate human embryos? Would the risk be worth it? 

I believe that the changing of original DNA/genes in a person would be too risky. Not only would it be a risk, but in today’s world, you can imagine the price tag on it. We are all born with chances of having strong or weak genes, so how would it be fair for one person to have the opportunity over another? I know not everything in life is fair, but the opportunity to change a human body to overpower another would not be ethical. 

I believe that if there is the ability to have another source of discrimination and privelege with the change in human embryos, it would cause more negative than positive. In a world where there is already discrimination, judgement,and privelege why add more? It would not be ethical.

Blog 5

When I was in 3rd grade, I vividly remember learning about the difference between wants and needs. We talked about it in class, and then my teacher gave everyone a worksheet with items such as food, shelter, television’s, toys, and other simple items on the worksheet. We were told to write “want” or “need” next to each picture. I finished my worksheet quickly, and decided to take a peek at the worksheet belonging to the kid sitting next to me. I saw that he had written “need” next to television. Without thinking, I yelled out loud “A television isn’t a need!”. My teacher proceeded to tell me that this was a quiz and now I received an F for looking at the other kids paper and announcing that to the class. I was outraged that I got an F and the kid next to me would get a better grade than me, even though he thought that a television was a need.

“False” are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. Their satisfaction might be most gratifying to the individual, but this happiness is not a condition which has to be maintained and protected if it serves to arrest the development of the ability (his own and others) to recognize the disease of the whole and grasp the chances of curing the disease. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs” (Marcuse). 

As I look at it now, the kid sitting next to me was identifying a false need. The idea that the television would be thought of as a “need” for a child because it brings satisfaction and enjoyment, or “have fun”. This is the idea that I believe Marcuse was trying to get at. We become so accustomed to our lifestyle, that there becomes a thin line between what our needs are compared to our false needs. We do not need to be happy, yet we have a false need to be happy. 

Marcuse, “The New Forms of Control”.

Mini Project 2

For my Mini Project 2, I am going to combine the two topics of social media surveillance and those incarcerated. 

One of the most popular social media platforms in our generation is Facebook. As we explore Facebook, we find “groups” that we are interested in. For this example, I will alter the name of the group, as it is a “private” group (all you have to do is answer one question to join the group, but it is still considered private). I will give it the name, “The Fredericksburg “Hall” of Shame”. There are approximately 38,500 members in this group. The page can be posted on by any member, and most of the time it is full of unnecessary drama, but there are some helpful posts, like missing person information, or searches for missing cars in the area. 

To get to the specifics on what this post is about, I will tell you something that is posted every week. A woman posts screenshots of arrests from the Rappahannock Regional Jail (usually within the past 2-3 days) on this facebook page. The screenshots include the mugshots, full names, and their pending charges from their arrests. Though this is all public information that anyone can go look up on their computer, these posts are broadcasted to all 38.5k members of the page. As if their arrests being broadcasted on this platform wasn’t enough shame, people also get pretty rowdy within the comments. 

Some comments found under the mugshot posts:

“Oh wow, first one. I did not know she was going down that path”

“Damn. Brittany again? I hope girl gets her life together.”

“Hope he rots in jail”

Though some of these comments can be “justified” because of the charges they were accused of, what if they were wrongly accused? What if they are actually innocent?

Now, let’s tie this into Focault. “Hence the major effect of the Panopticon: to induce in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power. So to arrange things that the surveillance is permanent in its effects, even if it is discontinuous in its action”. These individuals who have been incarcerated are not only seen and, in a way, “watched” by the system, but also to the public. Posting the inmates gives the lady control over who gets shamed. But, why? 

Blog 4

For this blog post, I watched “Arkangel”, from the Netflix series, Black Mirror. 

In this episode, a mother got a “chip” inserted into her child which allowed her to track her by GPS, view the world from her eyes, and “filter” out things that she did not want her child to see. The mother had a tablet in which she could control all of these features. Things seemed to work out in her favor as she could protect her daughter, until around age 10. The daughter became curious as to what she could not see, because of the “filter” being on. When the mother decided it was time to turn off the filter and pack away her tablet, that is when the daughter felt free. She became more open to the real world and was exposed to “bad” things for the first time. As years went on, she became a teenager, and as we all know, that is when we become more exposed to things that mothers wish they could know about. Long story short, and in my attempt to not “spoil” the episode, her mother began surveillancing her daughter again, without her knowing. She saw things that she wished she didn’t, and decided to be the overprotective mother that she is, and try to control things again. I would even say that she was being watched in one of the most extreme ways, as in her health was being closely surveilled as well. 

This episode made me think about Panoptican. As the guards in the jail are surveillancing the inmates, they know they are being watched, but not when. As the girl grew up, she did not know that she was being watched, but she in fact, was. When the daughter was young, she was to act as though she was always being watched, because she knew that she was, which is the same concept as the prisoners. Is this a good thing, though? For the prisoners, maybe. It gives them a sense that they should all be on best behavior at all times, but that makes sense for them, as their rights have been taken away, for the reasoning of being a criminal. But, as a free human, I believe that is an unhealthy way of living and can do serious damage to mental health, leaving a person in a constant state of being on edge. 

https://philtech.michaelreno.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FoucaultPanopticismKaplan.pdf

Blog Post 3

“The overall aim was to make the prison a place for the constitution of a body of knowledge that would regulate the exercise of penitentiary practice. The prison has not only to know the decision of the judges and to apply it in terms of the established regulations: it has to extract unceasingly from the inmate a body of knowledge that will make it possible to transform the penal measure into a penitentiary operation; which will make of the penalty required by the offence a modification of the inmate that will be of use to society. The autonomy of the carceral régime and the knowledge that it creates make it possible to increase the utility of the penalty, which the code had made the very principle of its punitive philosophy: “The governor must not lose sight of a single inmate, because in whatever part of the prison the inmate is to be found, whether he is entering or leaving, or whether he is staying there, the governor must also justify the motives for his staying in a particular classification or for his movement from one to another. He is a veritable accountant. Each inmate is for him, in the sphere of individual education, a capital invested with penitentiary interest”. (Foucault, 13). 

When reading this passage, many thoughts run through my mind, as I have known people close to me who have gone in and out of the system. I have heard stories of guards abusing their power, and some who use their power as good to try and correct the behavior of inmates. I feel as though inmates are used as “puppets” often. Someone I know who was in the system, has told me stories that I thought only happened in movies. One story was, while she was incarcerated, she was taunted and denied her daily medication, because the guards claimed that they should all be treated like murderers since they were all in jail. Another, was that they would make the inmates get on their knees and beg for toilet paper, for the purpose of enjoyment from the guards. 

While there are “good” guards, there are also those who abuse their power. Why is this? I believe there is a view that the guard is the superior (in a way, they are), but they want to make sure that the prisoners believe this. The system has lost track of what they should be doing. Instead of, in a way, wasting the time the inmates are in jail, why not try to use this as a way to help them? As stated in the passage above, the inmate should be modified to be a use to society. For example, if a person is in jail for DUI’s, why not set up programs for alcohol abuse? If a prisoner is in for drugs, why not set them up for substance abuse? The list goes on. Why use the time as a way to degrade or worsen a person, rather than attempt to better them? Is the reason of this human greed or is it because we have been brainwashed into believing that degrading is the best form of technology to use on the inmates?

https://philtech.michaelreno.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/FoucaultPanopticismKaplan.pdf

Mini Project 1

As human beings, we believe that we have a dominance over the world upon us. In Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, he discusses standing-reserves. “Thus when man, investigating, observing, ensnares nature as an area of his own conceiving, he has already been claimed by a way of revealing that challenges him to approach nature as an object of research, until even the object disappears into the objectlessness of standing-reserve” (Heidegger, 19). I interpret this as a reason we, humans, use the world and its nature for our own use, even if it is destroying things that should be treated with respect and taken care of. After all, what makes humans so superior?

I decided to jump into the issue of the cruelty and mistreatment of cows. “In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year. When still very young, many cows are branded (burned with hot irons), dehorned (their horns are gouged out or cut or burned off), and castrated (male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums)—all without painkillers” (PETA). Not only are these cows being abused, but also traumatized. Some may argue, “well they are just animals”. Why do we, as humans, not see that they have feelings, emotions, and feel pain like the rest of us? “Once they have grown large enough, cows raised for beef are sent to massive, filthy outdoor feedlots, where they are fattened for slaughter. Cows on dairy farms are repeatedly artificially impregnated (in order to keep their milk flowing) and then traumatically separated from their newborn calves until finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to be killed, too” (PETA). Why do we hurt another living, breathing being within nature for our own benefits? 

Why can’t we cut back on the consumption, or at least push these farmers/industries to form a less cruel approach to the slaughter? Do humans really need steaks, hamburger, and milk to live? These days, people are starting to live a lifestyle of veganism and being vegetarian. Though, this is not the only answer to this problem. There are alternatives to big industry farming, such as local farms, which can often be found in farmers markets in rural areas.

The reflection of standing-reserve on this topic can be interpreted by realizing that we are using our power over animals, and not just cows. We use our (what is believed to be) domination in nature and destroying it for our own benefit. This is a good medium for the reflection of standing-reserve, because whether you care or not about these animals or what they are being put through, it shows that we, as humans, are using other beings as a standing-reserve, to be looked upon as a challenge and “objects of research”. 

The Question Concerning Technology, Martin Heidegger

Photo: https://oldmooresalmanac.com/keep-cows-happy/ 

Blog Post #2

Always Check the Weather

In southern Pennsylvania, you never know where those mountains will take ya. 

It was early monday morning, 

We got ready for a float, but not on a boat.

We went rolling down the river with our tubes tied together.

Though before departure, not a soul bothered to check the weather. 

Some sipping brew, while I drank Mountain dew, 

But that may or may not be true.

After a while, the sky turned angry,

Yet to go was still another mile. 

 Lighting came striking, we started to wish we were biking. 

Stranded afloat, we became concerned for our safety. 

We tried to tough it out, but began to scout- for a shelter nearby.

We swam to shore, then began to tour. 

We came across a young couple, who drove us to our cabin, in their station wagon. 

As we arrived to our destination, I started to feel sane,

But never looked at the river the same. 

Always check the weather.

-Jaylynn Bellefy

Blog Post #1

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post for Phi Tech ! I will be tackling the questions: What’s technology? Who cares/Why should anyone care how “technology” is defined?

Technology in this time of day will often be thought of as a cell phone, a piece of machinery, cars, etc. Fact of the matter, technology is all around us, and we use it every day, whether we realize it or not. When you leave your house or bedroom, you open and close a door, which is technology. You sit in a reclining chair to watch some TV, you are using technology. It is all around us.

According to Val Dusek, there are different kinds of definitions for technology. There are real, stipulative, reportative, and précising definitions. A real definition comes from the Ancient Greek Philosophers, Plato and Aristotle held the notion of the real definition,”which assumes that there is a real structure of the world that corresponds to our words and that a correct definition will math the real nature of things”(Dusek, 26) The stipulative definition is quite an opposite view of the real definition, as it claims that the definition is about words, not things. The reportative definition is a report of how the word is used, and there is no way to make up an arbitrary definition of it. Lastly, the précising definition, “retains the core ordinary meaning of the word”(Dusek,28).

People should care about how technology is defined because it gives a better understanding as to how certain parts of life work and the reasoning of their lives being simpler. Whether people look at technology as a good or bad thing, is, in my opinion, completely up to the persons beliefs. It is often thought that technology makes one lazier, but it in fact, still requires time and energy to use technology. I personally do not look at technology as a good or bad thing, because in ways it can consume a persons life, but at the same time we need it to live a simpler life. Technology is very much necessary and there are technological advances happening every day.

Source:

Val Dusek, “What is technology? Defining or Characterizing Technology”.