I strongly recomment a listen to The Inquiry – How did we mess up antibiotics?
A part of the story involves chickens. The figure below is from businessinsider.
Clearly, there is something not natural going on here. Back in 1989 I went on a trek in the far north of Thailand. In the villages, chickens ran about everywhere and one day they were caught and served for dinner. What struck me was how different this dark tasty meat was from the white tasteless stuff I had experienced before. I became a vegan and have avoided eating chicken ever since (apart from a couple of cases where I did not want to offend a host).
But the interesting part of the chicken story, see also here, has nothing to do with me – it is about how the needs of business – to profit from lead in petrol, CFCs, fossil fuels, neonicinitoids – are often put ahead of the needs of people.
Battery chicken farms were introduced to the UK by Antony Fisher founder of the Institute for Economics Affairs, a lobbying group that did and still does so much to promote deregulation, see Adam Curtis’ The curse of TINA. One of the pillars of the neoliberal ideology that underpins organisations such as the IEA is Hayek’s maxim that decisions should be left to “the man on the spot”.
Hayek’s great mistake was the failure to appreciate the extent to which the “man on the spot”, first did not know everything, and secondly is incentivised to withhold information in order to serve his own ends. What is good for business is not necessarily good for everyone. There has to be a balance between open science, regulation and business, and in this a strong state (with democractic oversight) has an important role to play.
Whether with respect to antibiotic resistance, climate change or international trade agreements, we are likely to find that chickens will remain centre stage in the ideological battle for some time to come.