France to ban the maceration of male chicks by end of 2021

Yvonne O'Halloran

It’s a disturbing practice that many people probably know nothing about: On the day they’re born, all the fluffy male chicks born to egg-laying hens at hatcheries are gruesomely killed — usually by being run, while conscious, through what is essentially a blender.

Each year, approximately 7 billion male chicks are shredded up by large maceraters or by gas as they are not profitable for the industry. France has just this week pledged to outlaw the practices of culling unwanted male chicks by the end of 2021 as part of animal welfare reforms.

Male chicks, which can’t grow up to lay eggs and aren’t bred to be efficient meat producers, are considered useless for industrial farmers. For this reason, billions of male chicks born at hatcheries each year are tossed into massive blenders — or gassed, or suffocated, typically while they’re still conscious.

French Agriculture minister Didier Guillaume announced the reforms at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday. “From the end of 2021, nothing will be like it was before”. Mr Guillaume stated that he hoped a method would soon be developed that would allow the sex of the chick be determined before it had hatched but researchers are yet to come up with a solution that works on an industrial scale. Mr Guillaume also announced that the practice of castrating piglets without anaesthesia will be banned by the end of 2021. Castration is done on piglets to prevent “boar taint” a potent smell or taste that can occur in meat of non-neutered pigs.


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