Germany has become the first country to ban the practice of shredding baby chicks. This is a common practice in the egg industry. Every year there are millions of baby male chicks that are shredded immediately after they hatch because they don’t grow up to be egg-laying chickens and they are not suitable considered to be suitable for meat.
In the German egg industry alone, around half of all chicks born are male and around 45 million of these male chicks are killed after they hatch. The practice is common for both free range and cage-raised egg producers.
The Process of Shredding Chicks
Poultry farms need to replace their spent egg-laying chickens so there is always a constant stream of newborn chicks being hatched. Until very recently a chicks gender could not be determined until the egg hatched.
Most poultry farms use one of two methods to dispose of the male chicks. In the first the male chicks are generally dumped into a macerator. A macerator is similar to a food processor or blender. The machine grinds up the baby chicks alive.
The second method farms use to kill their male chicks is the gas chamber. This method can take up to two minutes to kill the chicks and the chicks experience severe shaking as they gasp for air. Both methods are cruel and many critics of the shredding practice have connected the process for killing chicks o the extermination processes of the Nazis.
The German paper Rheinische Post wrote the following: “We don’t mean to compare the acts, because the Nazis are unique through the monstrosity of their extermination work, but the behavior of deciding over life and death and only valuing animals for their usefulness is related.”
The research into developing an egg sexing method came about in response to welfare concerns expressed by animal rights activists who have exerted pressure on the government to do something about this practice. The German government teamed up with scientists who developed a new technology to determine the sex of a fertilized egg.
This new technology will be implemented to determine the sex of the fertilized egg before the chick develops inside the egg. All eggs identified as being male will then be removed from the hatchery and only the female identified eggs will be allowed to hatch. Instead of destroying the male eggs they will be used for other products.
Animal Rights Activists hope that Germany’s lead will result in other countries banning this practice as well
The new technology that will be implemented will only add two cents to the cost of an egg.
Many people do not stop to think about the way food makes it to our plates. There are many cruel animal practices that occur and chick shredding is only one of them. Unfortunately, the sisters of all the male chicks that get shredded also end up on the slaughter block once they have outlived their usefulness as an egg layer. Certainly one way to stop the madness is for people to eat plant-based diets instead of animal-based diets.