Callously Culling Chicks?
Culling male chicks is a practice rampant across the world. Male chicks from egg-laying chicken strains do not provide meat, and since they also cannot lay eggs, they are regarded as redundant. Male chicks are ground up alive, gassed, electrocuted, or asphyxiated, and some seven billion of them are culled every year.
France will be banning these methods of mass culling chicks from next year and will be one of the first to do so, a move that has received a positive reception from animal activists. “From the end of 2021, nothing will be like it was before,” said Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume on Tuesday. Elsewhere, Germany announced that it would join forces with France to stop this pervasive problem last November. Switzerland also banned chick shredding last September.
Guillaume expressed hope that scientists would soon find a viable way for farmers to determine the gender of a chick before it hatches. Researchers have made progress in developing this technology, but current methods require all eggs to be individually pierced, which is economically unviable on a large scale. Guillaume also announced that from next year, France will require piglets to be anaesthetised when undergoing castration; pigs are castrated to make them grow fatter and their meatless odorous.
But Is It Enough?
However, the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) group has said that we should be trying to stop pig castration entirely and has expressed disappointment that Guillaume did not announce a ban on eggs from cage-raised chickens. In addition, the French L214 group, which opposes all meat consumption, said “There is nothing on slaughter conditions, nor on how to exit from intensive animal farming”. It also claimed that the measures were “not ambitious” and “do not address the basic problems”.