Germany is set to be the first country to ban mass shredding of male chicks in the poultry industry, the government said Wednesday after approving a draft law on the controversial practice.
The measure passed by the cabinet envisages a ban on chick shredding from 2022 in ‘a significant step forward for animal welfare,’ agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner said in a statement.
In many poultry businesses, male chicks are separated from females soon after hatching and killed as they do not produce eggs and generate less meat.
Tens of millions of males are shredded in Germany every year.
Animal welfare activists have long campaigned to end the practice but farmers have complained there is no practical, affordable and cruelty-free alternative.
But technologies to determine the sex of chicks before they hatch are expected to be widely available by the time the ban comes into force, according to Kloeckner.
‘We have invested millions of euros in alternatives, bringing animal welfare and economic efficiency together on German soil,’ Kloeckner said.
Saying Germany would be ‘the first country in the world’ to stop the practice, Kloeckner stated it wants to ‘set the pace and be a role model for other countries’.
From 2024, the law would also require poultry farmers to use methods that work at before hatching.
The legislation must next be approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.
Germany and France committed in January 2020 to work together to end the practice of chick shredding by the end of 2021.
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