Animal agriculture is full of gruesome tactics meant to maximize profit. The culling (also referred to, quite literally, as ‘destroying’) of male chicks minutes after they hatch, is one of the egg industry’s darkest secrets. It was recently announced that Germany is working to end this mass killing of chicks within their industry.
Just to be clear: Each year, billions of tiny, just-hatched chicks are destroyed by being ground up alive, gassed, or just shoved in a bucket to suffocate/stomp each other to death simply because they are born male in an egg-laying industry. It’s one morbid aspect of animal agriculture that everyone can agree on being outright wrong. These chicks are literally born to die.
Many people that learn about this are confused as to why this waste of life exists when male chicks could just be raised for meat. However, modern animal agriculture has genetically engineered two types of chickens: layers for eggs and broilers for meat. Broiler chickens are engineered to grow to an insanely massive size in a short amount of time. Broiler chickens bred with these genetic mutations suffer a life of pain including the inability to walk or even stand—yet another example of how huge profit comes before animal welfare. Because male layers can’t lay eggs and don’t grow fast enough to be raised for meat, destroying the male layer chicks is the most ‘cost effective’ way for factory farms to deal with them.
The goods news? A breakthrough in scientific research at University of Leipzig in Germany hopes to end this torturous slaughter by determining the sex of a chicken before it hatches. Supposedly the eggs of male chicks would be destroyed at around 9 days, before the embryo develops to experience pain. The agriculture minister of Germany said that the method would only add about 2 cents to the price of an egg. Germany hopes to perfect this method of identifying genders early on and implement it in the egg industry by late 2016.
While there is not yet a plethora of information available about this scientific breakthrough, we hope that it will have an enormous impact on the 45 million chicks shredded alive per year in Germany alone. We applaud the German government for taking this step to bettering the life of farmed animals.
While we sincerely hope that a system similar to Germany’s is put to work here in the US—where over 200 million male chicks are still ground up alive each year—all of us know that the best way to prevent this atrocity is to go vegan and stop our currently insatiable demand for eggs and chicken products in the first place.
For those of us that are already vegan, let’s keep demanding change. For the rest of us that have yet to give up animal products, check out just how easy, delicious, and healthful eating and living vegan can be.