In a historic announcement, France’s agricultural minister Julien Denormandie said that the country will ban the killing of male chicks by methods like crushing or gassing. Germany will follow suit, marking the first time ever that countries have declared a stop to this practice.
50 million male chicks crushed at birth
In an interview with Le Parisien, Julien Denormandie revealed that a shocking 50 million male chicks are culled in France and Germany either by gassing or crushing them at birth and only females are kept alive as they can lay eggs in the future.
Following a push from animal welfare groups calling this practice of inhumanely killing of male chicks barbaric, Denormandie announced that: “France is the first country in the world, along with Germany, to end the crushing and gassing of male chicks.”
This ban goes into effect next January.
Farmers will now be provided with new technology to identify the sex of an egg weeks before the egg actually hatches.
Denormandie added: “The technique of identifying the sex of the egg allows us to distinguish, through the shell, the feather colour of the male embryos, which is different to the females. In this way, we no longer have to eliminate 50 million male chicks just after they are born every year in France. The dynamic is well underway and, given the orders already placed, the machines will be installed for two-thirds of production in France by the end of the first quarter of 2022.”
Farmers will be allowed time to organize and prepare the present machines to be adapted to smaller farms or laboratories.
The technique of identifying the sex of the egg allows us to distinguish, through the shell, the feather colour of the male embryos, which is different to the females. In this way, we no longer have to eliminate 50 million male chicks just after they are born every year in FranceJulien Denormandie, France’s agricultural minister
In addition, they will receive financial support from the state for the new equipment, with the government allocating EUR€10million (approx. US$11.8 million) “to a limit of 40% of the amount of each investment”. The government will work with all stakeholders involved to ensure that a fair share of costs is divided across the entire supply chain.
This will lead to an increase in the cost of a single box of six eggs by EUR€0.01.
Push for a similar ban across all E.U. states
France and Germany will push for a similar measure at the European level and will persuade their partners to outlaw the practice at a council of E.U. agriculture ministers. At the moment, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, Austria, and Ireland are already expected to make similar moves.
Castration of live piglets will also be banned from 2022 and farmers can either choose to end castration practices or farms where it is needed, a local anaesthetic needs to be provided to the animals with Denormandie adding that this would be needed in the charcuterie industry.
Recently, the E.U. announced that it will form new legislation to ban the use of cages in animal agriculture, a move that will impact the lives of 300 million animals.
Lead image courtesy of Karim/Unsplash.