From 2022: Germany becomes world's first country to ban chick culling
After years of debate, it is now certain: Germany is set to become the first country in the world to ban the mass killing of male chicks. New legislation passed by the Bundestag will prohibit the practice from January 1, 2022.
Chick shredding banned in Germany from 2022
The mass slaughter of hours-old male chicks is to end in Germany from the beginning of 2022, after the Bundestag approved a ban put forward by Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner. The new law prohibits the chick farming method, a practice that the minister described as “ethically unacceptable”.
Since they cannot lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production - making raising them economically unfeasible - chicken farms around the world often kill male chicks shortly after they hatch. Around 45 million chicks are killed this way in Germany alone each year.
Farmers will have to determine sex before chicks hatch
In 2019, Germany’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that animal welfare concerns outweigh the economic interest of farmers who wish to cull male chicks, and concluded that the practice could only remain permissible for a transitional period.
Instead, farmers in Germany will now have to rely on new technologies that can determine the sex of the chick while it is still inside the egg, thus preventing male chicks from hatching in the first place. To ensure that the embryo does not feel any pain, from 2024 onwards farmers will have to use methods that can identify the sex much earlier in the incubation process.