Germany is set to become the first country in the world to abandon the brutal practice of culling newborn males, which is widely used in poultry farming. The government has already approved the bill, Agence France-Presse reports. Agriculture Minister Julia Klockner announced that from 2022 a ban on the mass murder of male chickens will be introduced in the country. The measure is taken in order to reduce the suffering of birds.
This practice is used in almost all poultry farms: soon after the chicks hatch from the eggs, the males are separated from the females on conveyors. The chickens are sent off for further rearing, and the males are gassed or thrown into shredders for shredding with knives: they are of little use since they do not lay eggs and produce less meat. In Germany alone, tens of millions of chickens are thrown into a meat grinder per year. Despite the idea of instant death, not everyone dies in a grinder quickly and relatively painlessly.
Animal rights activists have long advocated the abolition of this practice, but farmers cited the fact that there was no alternative available. Now, according to government officials, the ability to determine the sex of a chicken before it hatches from the egg has appeared. Scientists have developed a method that uses a laser to make a tiny hole, extract fluid from a fertilized egg, and test it for female hormone. The Minister of Agriculture said that millions of euros have already been invested in the introduction of alternative methods into practice.
This is just the beginning: from 2024, German poultry farmers will be required to use technologies that work at an earlier stage of the incubation process and prevent the suffering of unhatched embryos.
European consumer advocacy group Foodwatch has already criticized the German government's initiative. According to human rights activists, the gradual abandonment of the culling of chickens is welcome, but the introduction of the law will make German poultry farmers uncompetitive. In addition, this decision is half-hearted: laying hens, for example, also suffer, because they should be slaughtered already in a year, after the first molt.
However, the fate of birds is thought not only in Germany. The French Ministry of Agriculture is going to ban poultry cutters from the end of 2021, and Switzerland has already banned them, continuing to gas the birds.
Now the EU directive from 2009 is allowed to send to shredders for the quick killing of chickens that are no more than three days old. A video on how live cockerels are disposed of can be viewed below.