Court: killing of male chicks is compatible with animal protection law © dpa
Is the million-fold killing of male chicks necessary? In the opinion of the agricultural industry, yes. In Muenster fell on Friday a nationwide noticed judgement.
Killing male chicks immediately after hatching does not violate animal welfare laws. This is what the Munster Higher Administrative Court ruled on Friday, confirming several rulings by administrative courts in North Rhine-Westphalia against a decree by the red-green state government.
The Animal Welfare Act permits the killing of animals if there is a reasonable reason for doing so, according to the ruling. The rearing of hatched male chicks would involve a disproportionate effort for hatcheries and therefore not an alternative. The OVG did not allow an appeal. The decision can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court.
"Defeat for animal welfare"
NRW Environment Minister Johannes Remmel called the ruling "a bitter defeat for animal welfare in Germany". Animals are not waste products, which may be killed only because of the profit maximization, he said on Friday in Dusseldorf. The judgment has "only purely formal legal reasons" and is thus "by no means carte blanche for the practices of the poultry industry".
The majority of the states had also voted in the Bundesrat to ban the practice. The NRW government would consider appealing to the next higher instance. "Politically, however, we will continue the dispute until a legal ban," Remmel announced.
"Continue to fight for animal welfare"
Animal rights organizations also expressed disappointment with the ruling. The foundation "Vier Pfoten" demanded in Munster to push the establishment of "dual-purpose chickens", which are suitable for egg production as well as for fattening with lower performance. The increasing renunciation of animal products would be welcome. Rainer Hagencord of the Institute for Theological Zoology in Munster had expressed a similar opinion. Buying cheap eggs is unchristian, he said in an interview with our site.
The animal rights organization PETA said in Stuttgart that purely economic reasons were not sufficient to justify killing animals. But now, finally, the long overdue social discourse on this important ie is being conducted. Politicians and legislators have a duty to finally put a stop to the mass killing of healthy and viable creatures.
The German Animal Welfare Association criticized the ruling: "Animal welfare is subject to economic interests. This is unacceptable in the face of a state goal of animal welfare. We can only encourage the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister Johannes Remmel to keep fighting," said the organization's president, Thomas Schroder, according to the statement.
Verdict with signal effect
Remmel wanted to stop killing for purely economic reasons by decree in 2013. Against this, eleven affected hatcheries moved before the administrative courts. The German government rejects a ban and relies on a technical solution that should be ready for the market in 2017. This involves identifying the sex of the embryo before it hatches.
The ruling from North Rhine-Westphalia sends a signal to the industry, even though only 5.4 percent of all chicks hatched in Germany hatch in North Rhine-Westphalia. Twelve of 30 farms nationwide are located in NRW. But they are generally much smaller than the hatcheries in other German states.