French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume has announced that by the end of 2021 practice of shredding live male chicks will be banned in the country. The controversial practice is performed by industrial farmers across the globe as male chicks are considered redundant by both egg and poultry producers.
Cockerels are being used only for insemination as the poultry industry favours hens for meat owing to that faster growth rate. Because of this male chicks are culled inhumanely by feeding the, to shredders or suffocating them in bags or by gassing them. Through the proposed ban minister assures that “nothing will be like it was before” in poultry farming after the end of 2021.
“We want to move forward, there’s no going back. The government is committed to it,” he said at a press conference.”The aim is to oblige firms to do this by the end of 2021. We need to find a method that works on a large scale.”
He also said France would ban the practice of castrating young, male pigs without anaesthetic. “The ministry is going to publish regulatory texts in the next few weeks to move towards the banning of painful practices in farming husbandry,” he added.
In 2015, Germany had introduced a similar ban, only to be lifted temporarily by a court last year. The court has ruled that the controversial practice would remain legal until farmers could access technology to determine the sex of a chick while still an embryo, which would enable them to destroy unwanted eggs before hatching.
Maxime Chaumet, general secretary of the poultry trade body Comité National pour la Promotion de l’Oeuf, France responded to the minister’s announcement by telling more research was needed to find an alternative method to shredding.
“We understand and take note of what the minister of agriculture said. However, we currently have no other method available. We have no solution to date. A two-year time period is quite short, but the minister is well aware of this. They need to accelerate the research process because at the moment it’s looking like a complicated ban,” he said.
The German government has invested $5.5 million in ovo sex determination technology, also called “Seleggt technology” to determine the sex of egg before it hatches. Technology which is said to be available by this year will help stop the practice of mass chick-killing.
The French government will also have to devise some technological solution to make the ban practical for both egg and poultry farmers.