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News Section Icon Published 17/10/2022

During an EU ministerial meeting that took place earlier today in Brussels, nine EU countries called for an EU-wide ban on the systematic killing of male chicks. Their proposal was widely supported by ministers and the European Commission. Due to this unequivocal support, we foresee that the EU will end this cruel practice when revising its animal welfare laws, a first draft of which is planned to be published next year.

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Shredded alive

Every year in the EU, hundreds of millions of male chicks are shredded alive, gassed, or killed by other painful methods – be it legal or illegal. These new-born sentient beings are a reject of the egg industry as, unlike their mothers, they are unable to lay eggs. For this reason, to maximize profits, they are killed in the cheapest way possible, which is also the cruellest.

Level playing field

The proposal to ban chick culling was brought forward by France and Germany, supported by Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Portugal. Some of these countries have already banned chick culling at the national level and want to ensure a level playing field for their producers, as well as to respond to citizens’ demands for higher animal welfare.

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Morally wrong

“We are pleased to see so many EU countries presenting a united front against the killing of baby male chicks,” said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. “Millions of these baby animals are gassed or shredded alive just because they are unable to produce eggs. The culling of male chicks is morally wrong. The EU must promote alternative technologies, such as determining the sex of the chicks before they are able to feel pain, which is before the 7th day of incubation.”

Becoming reality

“Citizens have repeatedly called for a ban and it’s great to see that their agriculture ministers have heard this demand,” Olga added. “There is no excuse to delay this much-needed change. We applaud the commitment by Commissioner Kyriakides to include such a ban in the upcoming revision of the animal welfare laws”.

For such a ban to take place, the European Commission will need to revise the current rules and European Parliament and the Council of the European Union would need to agree to this. Since the European Commission has committed to revise the law and the vast majority of EU countries are in favour of an end to this cruel practice, we are hopeful that the EU ban on male chick culling could very soon become a reality.

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