France has been lauded for banning the controversial practice of shredding male chicks alive by the end of 2021. Billions of male chicks are culled by industrial farmers as egg and poultry producers, as they are considered useless – they cannot produce eggs and it is preferred that cockerels only inseminate hens so their offspring grow faster.
As a result, male chicks are often routinely killed by being thrown into shredders while they are alive. Some farmers prefer to suffocate the chicks in bags or gas them to death.
French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume announced the ban on Tuesday, February 4, saying that nothing will be as it was before.
“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 farms to do this by the end of 2021. We need to find a method that works on a large scale.”
He added that France would also 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.”
Maxime Chaumet, who is the General Secretary of the French poultry trade body Comité National pour la Promotion de l’Oeuf, told CNN that an alternative method to shredding will have to be found by 2021.
“So at the end of 2021 we hope that we will have a solution,” he told CNN. “Machines will be needed. 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.”