The slaughter in laying hen farms of millions of male chicks, deemed unproductive, will be banned in Germany from 2022, according to a bill approved by the government on Wednesday, which presents itself as a pioneer on this issue.
“We are the first in the world to take such clear measures”, welcomed the Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner, referring to the end of an “unethical practice” as well as “a significant step forward for animal welfare ”.
Its law will still have to be validated by Parliament in the coming weeks.
In Germany, around 45 million male chicks are routinely killed each year soon after hatching because they do not lay eggs and, being smaller, are less meat-supplied and therefore considered insufficiently profitable. This method has been heavily criticized by animal rights activists for years.
The law provides that egg sexing methods must be generalized in order to destroy male eggs before hatching.
These currently allow us to determine between the 9th and 14th day of incubation, out of 21, the sex of the embryo of the egg. The new law will support innovative techniques with the aim, from 2024, of being able to determine the sex before the 6th day of incubation, in order to “further improve animal welfare”.
“I expect the industry to follow up on these announcements with concrete actions and modify their product range accordingly,” added Ms. Klöckner.
In June 2019, the highest German administrative court gave a delay to the poultry industry, affirming that it could continue to eliminate by the millions of male chicks until the advent of methods allowing sexing in the egg at large ladder.
At the beginning of 2020, Ms. Klöckner and her French counterpart at the time Didier Guillaume had shown their willingness to abandon this practice in their respective countries by the end of 2021.
The German Poultry Federation (ZDG) lamented that ending this practice “results in immense competitive disadvantages within the EU for the national poultry industry” and that the law “provides only a partial solution to the problem. problem ”.
Since January 1, 2020, Switzerland has also banned the grinding of live chicks, but it nevertheless allows their gassing.