“Unethical practice will then be a thing of the past”

Killing of male day-old chicks to be banned in Germany by the end of the year. Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner spoke of "significant progress for animal welfare".

A bill launched by the cabinet on Wednesday aims to end the common practice in laying hen production of killing male chicks shortly after hatching because it is economically unviable to raise them. "This unethical practice will then be a thing of the past," said Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner (CDU). She spoke of a "significant advance for animal welfare". Germany is the first country in the world to adopt such a clear approach.

Sex determination in the egg

According to the draft, by the end of 2021, market-ready alternatives for sex determination in the hatching egg should be available. According to its own information, the Ministry of Agriculture had funded the development of these methods to the tune of several million euros. All the possibilities already available for sex determination in the egg set between the age of 9 and the age of 18. and 14. incubation day, it said. Further research will be done to make this possible even earlier. The bill provides that starting from 2024 the killing of chicken embryos in the egg already after the 6. Breeding day to be banned. A chick is hatched for a total of 21 days.

Alternative possibilities

In addition to the killing of chicken embryos in the egg, there are two other ways to avoid killing the hatched male chicks: the use of so-called dual-purpose chickens, which – although less – also provide sufficient meat and eggs from an economic point of view, or alternatively the rearing of so-called brother cocks. Thereby the in itself unprofitable fattening of the cocks is co-financed over higher prices of the eggs of the laying hens.

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