France To Ban Mass 'Chick Shredding'

In a new report, the government of France recently stated that it would be fully banning the controversial yet widespread practice of culling male chicks by the end of 2021. However, the government said nothing as to whether a more ethical practice would be put in its place in order to help the egg and poultry industry adapt better.

Animal Mistreatment

As cruel as it may sound, current factory farming practice actually cull an estimated seven billion male chicks worldwide at an annual level, which means that they either get drowned, electrocuted, gassed, burned, fed to fishes or shredded to pieces in specially designed machines. Out of these billions of male chicks, only a few are retained for breeding.

“The males from the laying flock are considered a by-product. The solution we had until now was to cull them at birth, because they are not needed,” Léopoldine Charbonneaux, director of the French office of international animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming, said. “They cannot lay eggs, and they are not considered economically viable to fatten for meat.”

Based on the European Union, a 2009 directive legalizes some culling practices, given that the chicks are under 72 hours old and that the method would cause “immediate death.”

However, both France and Germany pledged earlier this month that it would be banning this method, and most recently, French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume outlined in greater detail Paris’ plans.

“The goal is to force companies and researchers to do it by the end of 2021,” Guillaume said.

Factory Farming

The ban of chick shredding is only one of the 15 measures the French government recently announced as an effort to help decrease the cases of animal cruelty and mistreatment in the country. Besides the ban on chick culling, one other measure require piglets to be given amnesia before getting castrated.

And while the measures were mostly praised, some animal welfare advocates regret that there is still inaction in other unethical intensive farming methods.

“These announcements have been made, they’re good, but they need to be followed through. Having a date in mind is good, but you also need to have it in law to ensure that it does happen,” Charbonneaux added.

chicken farm For decades, poultry and other animal farms utilized antibiotics freely in feed to promote growth. Reuters