An end to the practice of killing male layer chicks in hatcheries is being sought by a coalition of 36 members of parliament from all sides of the French government.
The ministers have written to the agriculture minister, Stéphane Le Foll, asking if he intends to introduce regulations to ensure sex determination in the egg, thus preventing the need for male chicks to hatch and then be killed.
The question followed a campaign from the animal welfare organisation ‘L’Association Ethique et Animaux L214’, which released an undercover video from a Breton hatchery in November. The video purportedly shows male layer chicks being thrown into grinders or suffocated in rubbish bags.
“Every day, thousands of newborn chicks are shredded alive because they are considered as mere waste. This cruelty has lasted too long. The Civil Code now recognises animals as sentient beings: it is time to act accordingly,” said Brigitte Gothière, spokesman for L214.
Germany’s agriculture minister Christian Schmidt recently announced that he aims to eliminate male layer chick killing by 2017, and made extra funds available to researchers to bring sex determination technology into practice.
The technology has already worked in tests, and the funds aim to help scientists at the University of Leipzig, amongst others, to develop a device for use in hatcheries.