That some chickens will never be born at all is the goal, as:
it’s believed those chickens born would have lives of only suffering, not redeemed by happiness;
the degree and constancy of the suffering is so great considerations of preferences the chicken may have, like a ‘will to live’, are overridden by the preference/desire to be free of suffering;
the expected consensus is we know enough about animal minds to conclude they have preferences like the instantaneous desire to be free of suffering in any given moment, but we don’t have sufficient reason to believe they abstractly think of the future, and meaningfully have a ‘will to live’;
the collective experience of the farm animal rights movement has been decades of reforms of factory farms remain unenforced or are insufficient to overcome the above considerations about how the lives of chickens on factory farms will never be worth living.
So the goal of some effective altruists focused on present and near-term future non-human animal well-being isn’t to advocate for the animal’s rights so much as it is to mitigate factory farming as an industry. This is from a perspective of EA from years ago, when Doing Good Better was published. There has been an empirical revolution within effective animal advocacy since then. The evidence has borne out employing messaging focused on systemic change over individual dietary/behavioural change, and not splitting hairs in messaging based on ideological differences internal to the animal welfare/rights movement. So if one cares about the rights of species to not go extinct, one doesn’t have to fear the movement strategy implied by the OP, as effective animal advocacy (EAA) organizations are mostly not pursuing that strategy anymore. Given how expansive factory farming is in developed Western countries, and how it’s expanding in developing countries, it appears factory farming, and thus the species of farm chicken, isn’t going away soon. That stated, I’ve no reason to think effective animal advocates would object to preserving the genome of the farm chicken, or rearing individual farm chickens under humane conditions, e.g., at an animal shelter or hobby farm.
Of course peers of EA outside the movement have weighed on the topic, disagreeing with the consensus EA position on either side. An argument against vegetarianism and for the continuation of factory farming exists in the logic of the larder, as laid out by Robin Hanson and others. On the other side, another animal liberation movement called Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) thinks EAA doesn’t go far enough. While I haven’t followed them closely, and so I find their end goals confusing, I believe DxE’s strategy is to mitigate factory farming isn’t to have them not be born into net-negative lives, but raising sufficient public consciousness global human civilization will at some point in the future literally directly liberate all presently factory-farmed animals, presumably to freely roam the Earth.
*”effective animal advocacy” is the term for the interstitial movement emerging from the combination of effective altruism and the conventional animal welfare/rights movement.
Were chicken preferences measured by EEG or choice? see also may comment above.
I was just relaying the consensus as I perceive in the community, but I haven’t studied this myself. I don’t know what kind of empirical evidence these conclusions are based on.