The German agricultural ministerChristian Schmidt hasannounced a ban on the sacrifice of male chicks in poultry farms as of 2017.Germany will then become the first country to ban this brutality which costs the lives of 50 million male chicks a year in Germany, and even more in the UK.
Egg farmers have absolutely no interest in male chicks. So in order to be sure they are only keeping egg-laying hens,the birds are sorted by gender (sexed) straight after they've hatched.And those who are unlucky enough to be the other strain are thrown alive into a macerator; gassed or suffocated in plastic bags.This is the brutality of the commercial production of eggs : good for nothing, not even profitable for a penny, male chicks are considered waste and they are treated like it too.
So how solve the problem of only choosing female chicks but at the same time sacrificing that many male chicks? Some scientists fromLeipzigmight have found a solution.They have developed a technology which allows you to scan the eggs and determine the sex of the future chick only three days after its creation. This spectrometry technique should be put into action by 2017.
In the UK, there is also widespread killing of male chicks deemed 'useless'. They are reportedly gassed not macerated in giant crushing machines.A spokesman from the British Egg Information Service (BEIS) toldThe Independent:
They are culled almost immediately, so at a day old, they are humanely gassed. In some other countries this is not the case but it always is in the UK. It is the only method used.
A spokesperson forAnimal Aid, the UK animal rights organisation, said that the methods of killing male chicks were “truly appalling”.For now, let's hope that the German method of scanning eggs will work and the UK can put it into action as well.