The German Federal Administrative Court just ruled that the mass slaughter of “useless” male chicks will still be deemed legal. The ruling is supposed to be only temporary until a more efficient solution is discovered. The genocide of these male chicks is not a rare case. The animal farming industry worldwide follows the same practices. Once the sex of the baby bird has been identified, the males are discarded through means of either gassing or more commonly, grinding. Roughly 45 million male chicks are murdered annually just in Germany.
Around six years ago, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia sought to bar hatcheries from this horrific practice, but two other hatcheries in the same state disputed against the motion. A section from Germany’s Animal Welfare Act states, “No one shall inflict pain, suffering, or harm on a pet without reasonable cause”. However, a lower court declared that murdering an animal for food was considered as “reasonable cause”.
Julia Klöckner, the German Minister for Agriculture, has called for the banning of the inhumane method saying that it is “ethically unacceptable”. Regardless, the high court in Leipzig established that the process will continue until other means of gender identification in eggs are discovered.
With billions of hens used in animal agriculture each year for meat and eggs, analogous amounts of male chicks are massacred usually no more than two days after birth. Male chickens grow slower than the females, so as well as not being able to produce eggs, they are inefficient for meat production and therefore dubbed unprofitable. Typically the chicks are transferred along a conveyor belt and dumped into a grinder where they are shredded and turned into animal feed. In case you have any doubts about this phenomenon, you can watch the video here (Warning: graphic images).
Last year, the German firm Seleggt created the first “no kill” method for the egg industry, where fluid is extracted roughly a week after fertilization to identify hormones and determine which eggs will be allowed to mature and which will be converted into feed for animals. Although, considering the amount of cholesterol present in eggs, a simpler and healthier alternative might be to just stop consuming them altogether.