But meatier, faster-growing chickens, industrial-scale farming methods, and innovative formats are only part of the story behind chicken’s growing popularity. The rise of big chicken was fueled in large part by #big_pharma: specifically, antibiotics. In 1948, a British scientist, Thomas Jukes, was experimenting with adding vitamins and other supplements to poultry feed. Jukes worked for a company that also synthesized antibiotics, a new genre of wonder drugs that had just begun to transform human health, and so he decided to add a tiny amount of his company’s antibiotic to the feed of one of the groups of chickens in his studies. His results were astonishing: The chickens on drugs grew 2.5 times faster than the hens kept on a standard diet. News spread fast, and only a few years later, American farmers were feeding their animals nearly half a million pounds of antibiotics a year.