The German government plans to ban the killing of male chicks after they hatch. According to official figures, this leads to the death of about 45 million birds a year in the country.
The Cabinet has approved a law banning the killing of male chickens as of January 1, 2022. Government spokeswoman Martina Fitz said that Germany will be the first country in the world to make such a decision.
In addition, Germany plans to prohibit the destruction of chicken embryos in eggs after the sixth day of incubation from January 1, 2024.
According to Martina Fitz, the government has invested more than $9.7 million in recent years in research into alternative procedures for determining the sex of chicks before they hatch.
Now, a procedure will be used to determine the sex of a chick that hasn’t hatched yet. As a result, only female chicks will be able to be born; other eggs will be destroyed.
In June 2019, a federal court ruled that poultry farmers could continue to kill male chicks after they hatch, but only until new procedures are in place to avoid doing so. The court opinion said that the economic interests of the company did not justify the killing of the male chicks.
Meanwhile, animal rights advocates find the measures taken insufficient. They demand a shift to breeds that would serve both purposes – raising laying hens and broilers. Activists admit that such an approach will result in lower productivity and higher prices for consumers, but they emphasize that it will be more humane.
According to Germany’s animal protection law, no one is allowed to inflict pain, suffering or damage on animals “without good cause.”