Germany and France call on EU countries to also ban culling of male chicks

Date of publication : 7/26/2021
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France and Germany are now calling on other EU countries to follow their lead in banning the controversial practice of culling male chicks, which both countries have pledged to end from January 2022.

It is “a big step forward” that French citizens have been waiting for for a long time, tweeted French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie, announcing the country’s ban on culling male chicks from 2022. Together with Germany, France will thus be “the first country in the world to put an end to the killing of male chicks,” he added.

Each year in France, over 50 million male chicks are killed shortly after hatching, while females are allowed to live on as future laying hens.

The practice has been sharply criticised by animal activists for years as unethical and because of the great suffering the male chicks often go through before death.


Finally on the way out

Since 2009, an EU regulation has guaranteed the protection of animals, stating that animals must be “spared any avoidable pain, stress and suffering” at the time of killing. It also provides that animals may only be killed after stunning, and the “absence of perception and sensation must last until the animal’s death.” This is not always the case in reality, however.

The gravity of the issue was brought to light by French animal welfare organisation L214 which in 2014 reported that chicks were being crushed alive or thrown into rubbish bins. Later, in a 2019 scientific opinion, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned of numerous failures in practices that cause stress and suffering to male chicks.

The practice will soon be dropped in France and Germany.

From 2022, French breeders will need to equip themselves with machines to detect the sex of chicks before they hatch. Denormandie explained on the fringes of a meeting of agriculture ministers in Brussels that from 1 January, 2022, “all hatcheries must have either installed or ordered the equipment to carry out these alternative methods.”

For the complete report, click here.

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