Germany Wants to Ban the Mass Culling of Male Chicks

A new law would require hatcheries to determine a bird's sex while the egg is still incubating.

Christopher Kimmel / Getty Images

Germany has drafted a law that would end the mass culling of male chicks by 2022. In what agriculture minister Julia Klöckner has called "a significant step forward for animal welfare," the law would require hatcheries to determine a bird's sex while the egg is still incubating, rather than waiting for it to hatch. This would allow the hatcheries to discard male eggs and turn them into high-protein animal feed, which is considered more humane than culling live chicks.



The process by which male eggs are identified is called Seleggt. It was由德国科学家开发and uses a laser to cut a non-invasive, 0.3-mm hole in the egg's shell between the 8th and 10th days of incubation. (German hatcheries will be required to do it between the 9th and 14th days.) A drop of fluid is extracted and tested for a hormone (estrone sulphate) that would indicate a female chick.来自Seleggt的网站:


这听起来像是一个好主意,但不是每个人都对法律草案感到满意。德国家禽业中央协会主席Friedrich-otto Ripke,told the Berliner Zeitungthat the process is expensive and complicated, and that the infrastructure simply isn't there to test and process every egg in the country. He thinks 15 million could be tested at most by next year, just a third of what the country produces.

在德国以外的孵化场担心捕获竞争,法规仍然是LAX。德国家禽协会told the Guardian这可能“导致德国家禽农民的”巨大竞争性缺点“。该协会表示,它欢迎逐步淘汰了小鸡剔除,但在法律草案中看到了”严肃的缺点“,包括它不会在欧洲的其他地方申请。”

treehugger伸出去Kipster, a groundbreaking chicken farm in the Netherlands that prides itself on selling "carbon-neutral" eggs and adhering to high standards of animal welfare. Kipster does not cull male chicks, but rather raises them for food. Founder Ruud Zanders shared some concerns about the new German approach (edited for clarity):

”看着the egg to avoid giving birth to male chicks is a great alternative; however, it still kills the embryo. This is the same as a cockerel being born, but a little earlier. Even embryos already have feelings. If you could look inside the egg [during the first] three days of incubation at the latest and determine the gender, then it would be different."

Zanders took issue with the perspective of male chicks being useless. "Why would you allow a broiler to be born and not utilize a cockerel?" His own farm takes the approach that "you might as well let the cockerel be born, give it the best possible life and then still eat it." Only if Seleggt technology allowed him to determine gender within the egg's first three days would it become a real option for Kipster Farm.

人道社会国际(HSI)认为这一议案作为一个无意识。赫西德国的主任Sylvie Kremerskothen Glason Glineason告诉TreeHugger,“鸡蛋行业的婴儿小鸡的剔除太长时间是非常丑陋的,很大的隐藏的练习。”她继续说:

"It’s a huge moral issue not simply in terms of the suffering of these chicks, but also because it highlights animal agriculture’s rapacious breeding and oversupply of animals. As one of the main producers of eggs in the EU, Germany has a major responsibility in this area. News that Germany aims to ban the killing of day-old male chicks from 2022 is extremely welcome, and will hopefully inspire other countries to follow suit."

The long-term goal is for testing to happen even earlier in the egg's incubation, but testing capacity for that does not currently exist. The draft law wants it in place by 2024.

The draft law still has to pass through the lower House of Parliament, the Bundestag, but there appears to be plenty of public support for it. HSI's Kremerskothen Gleason said, "It is no coincidence that this humane solution is being adopted at a time when interest in plant-based animal-free foods is booming... These steps – ending the mass grinding of male chicks and moving toward plant-based ingredients in products that have long required eggs – are indicators of how innovation driven by animal welfare sensibilities is helping to start critical conversations in the food industry."