LAST UPDATED: 7 April 2016
‘Chick disposal’ is something the egg industry doesn’t like to talk about. And is it any wonder? It’s hard to imagine eggs selling like hotcakes if carton packaging included pictures like this:
It's the brutal reality of commercial egg production: millions of tiny male chicks ground up alive or suffocated every year because they don't lay eggs. These little guys aren't considered 'commercially viable' to be raised — afer all, they'll never lay eggs, and they're not suitable to be raised for meat.
That half of all chicks born into the egg industry are male poses an enormous ethical issue — not to mention a potential public relations problem for the the egg industry. But finally, there may be hope on the horizon that this brutal practice could come to an end.
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. New technology looks set to determine the sex of each fertilised egg before the chick inside develops — enabling the removal of all male-identified eggs from the hatchery, and leaving only the female eggs to hatch. Germany's Agriculture Minister, Christian Schmidt, advised that 'chick shredding' could soon be a thing of the past in Germany — which could make it the first country in the world to stop the practice.
Update April 2016: While a Bill proposed to ban chick 'culling' outright in Germany has been voted down, the country is continuing to actively invest in technology to help end this cruel practice. But with government- and industry-led change lagging behind community expections of how animals should be treated — in Germany and around the world — more and more people are taking change into their own hands by making kinder choices...
Learn more about egg production in Australia:
If Germany can pull it off, what's stopping everyone else?
Millions of tiny chicks are 'disposed of' every year in Australia — and while caring people would never condone this ruthless treatment of vulnerable babies, most people have no idea it's even going on. Though it may not surprise you to hear that this is perfectly 'normal' in the caged egg industry (the same one that continues to defend the use of cruel battery cages) — the tragic reality is that the slaughter of male chicks is standard across all types of commercial egg farming — free range included.
But while the Aussie egg industry considers this callous treatment of day-old chicks 'normal' — you don't have to accept it. Nowadays, it's easier than ever to stand up for chicks and hens by reducing your egg intake — and with so many alternatives (and incredible recipes) available — reducing or eliminating egg from your meals needn't mean missing out on delicious food!