Even if we want to think about it or not, millions of animals are slaughtered each day on farms or slaughterhouses in order to satisfy our desire for meat. What we probably never thought about are the male chicks on poultry farms. Because they are deemed as “not commercially viable”, all male chicks that are hatched, are immediately killed in what is known as “chick shredding”.
This may sound gruesome and improbable but it is in fact a reality. Since males don’t lay eggs, poultry producers don’t find it economically viable to grow these chicks until maturity and instead opt to kill them right away. Either by asphyxiation or dropped into a grinding machine while they’re still alive. This, mind you, is standard practice on most poultry farms across the world.
Because farmers have to wait until the eggs hatch, an average such farm kills roughly 150,000 male chicks each day. A gruesome death for anyone, especially for something that has been alive for just about half an hour.
Thankfully and as AnimalsAustralia reports, scientists and animal rights campaigners have teamed up in Germany to come up with an alternative option to the mass-slaughter of the 45 million male chicks born into the country’s egg industry each year.
The newly developed technology will determine the sex of each fertilized egg before the chick inside develops – enabling the removal of all male-identified eggs from the hatchery. This will leave only the female eggs to hatch, which is much more ethically sound.
Christian Schmidt, Germany’s Agricultural Minister, has advised that ‘chick shredding’ be phased out completely by 2017 – making Germany the first country in the world to stop the practice.