The French government has said it will ban the culling of male chicks by the end of 2021.
It is part of a broader package of animal welfare reforms that will also see the end of piglet castration without anaesthesia.
About 7 billion male chicks are killed around the world each year. Photo: Misset
French agriculture minister, Didier Guillaume, announced the new laws at a press conference on Tuesday.
Government officials said that technology was emerging that would allow the testing of embryos inside the egg.
In Germany a ban is already in place, but a derogation has been made until such technology becomes commercially available.
French agriculture minister, Didier Guillaume. Photo: French Ministry of Agriculture
France’s 2021 ban would make it one of the first countries in the world to outlaw the controversial practice.
Male chicks from birds bred for laying eggs are not economical to rear for meat, and are usually gassed or macerated at birth. About 7 billion male chicks are killed around the world each year.
Research has been underway for many years to find a solution to the culling, and usually centre around sexing embryos in the egg.