Being shredded alive. Getting gassed. It sounds like a horror movie, but in fact, it’s the true crime genre. But no more, say the French. France announced on Sunday that as of next year, male chicks can no longer be culled
Around the world, about 7 billion male chicks are killed every year. Approximately 50 million of these unfortunates are born in France. Why this fowl sexism? Male chicks produce neither eggs nor meat. And then there’s all that crowing, and at such an ungodly hour. For these crimes, they are electrocuted, ground up alive, gassed, or even asphyxiated with plastic bags.
Three-quarters of French people said their government wasn’t doing enough to protect animals, according to an opinion poll early last year. Officials are listening. “France is the first country in the world, along with Germany, to end the crushing and gassing of male chicks,” said Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie on the daily news website Le Parisien, according to Reuters. In May, Germany banned culling male chicks by 2022.
But don’t expect a sudden increase in les coqs. Instead, the French plan something akin to chicken abortions. Chicken breeders will need to use machines that can determine the sex of chicks before hatching. France is planning a 10 million euro financial aid package for farmers to acquire the necessary sexing equipment. However, whether this can be done successfully on a mass scale remains to be seen. As for the developing males in eggs, perhaps France can develop a new delicacy, something like the Filipino street food balut, which is a fertilized duck egg containing an embryo.
Now France and Germany are encouraging other EU countries to ban culling male chicks. “The killing of large numbers of day-old chicks is, of course, an ethical issue,” said EU Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides at a meeting of agricultural ministers, according to Euractiv. She announced plans to “look very carefully at the issue and find the best possible solution” during an upcoming review of EU animal welfare rules.
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