Chicks, hatched hours earlier, are sorted, with the healthiest to be vaccinated.

Over 20 NGOs Want EU to Stop the Killing of Hundreds of Millions of Chicks Every Year

Animal welfare groups join forces in historical coalition to demand an end to this savage practice


Vienna, 1 June 2022 – Over 20 European NGOs have formed a coalition calling for an end to the killing of hundreds of millions of chicks and ducklings every year.

In a joint campaign push the animal advocates urge the Ministers of Agriculture of the European Union Member States to support a ban on the systematic shredding and gasing of male chicks and female ducklings. These two savage practices are currently allowed under EU law but could be prohibited as part of the revision of EU legislation on farm animal welfare, which is slated to take place in 2023-2025. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is part of this historical coalition.

According to a new YouGov survey among 10,000 EU citizens seven out ten participants support a ban on the killing of chicks and ducklings. In France particular 64%.

EU revises legislation by 2023

The European Commission, which is tasked with proposing a new legal act in 2023, is considering the possibility of prohibiting the systematic killing of chicks in the EU. Stella Kyriakides, the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, who retains competence on the issue, said  that “The killing of large numbers of day-old chicks is, of course, an ethical issue.”

We need the European Commission to propose new legislation to better regulate practices in animal agriculture. It is therefore crucial that all Ministers of Agriculture from all 27 Member States are in full support of this reform. The systematic killing of chicks and ducklings has to end. The ultimate goal of course is a reduction in farmed animals overall.”

Josef Pfabigan, CEO of FOUR PAWS says.

Forerunners France and Germany

In 2020, the French government already announced a ban on the killing of day-old chicks. Similarly, the German government also committed to ban this practice. In France, hatcheries have until the end of 2022 to transition to using in-ovo sexing devices and to end the systematic killing of male chicks.


For every hen raised for egg production purposes, one male chicks is ground or gassed. Male chicks are deemed 'unproductive' for the egg industry, as they do not lay eggs, and their meat has no economic value for the meat industry. For this reason, 330 million day-old male chicks are eliminated annually. As early as a few hours after hatching, male chicks are first sorted by workers, and while female chicks are sent to lay eggs on farms, the males are killed. Tens of millions of female ducklings suffer the same fate, given that the liver of female ducks is less desirable for foie gras production, and as a result, foie gras producers only raise and force-feed male ducks.

There are several reasons why a ban on the systematic killing of male chicks is attainable: the societal demand in support of a ban is high, alternatives to the systematic killing of male chicks exist, and two countries have already prohibited this practice. Last but not least, the revision of the EU legislation on the 'welfare of farmed animals' represents an unprecedented opportunity to ban this practice throughout the EU.

List of Coalition Partners:

  • GAIA
  • Animal Equality
  • FREE
  • Animal Society
  • Green REV Institute
  • OBRAZ - Obránci zvířat
  • CAAI
  • HSI
  • Nevidimi Zhivotni
  • Loomus
  • PFO
  • International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA)
  • Tierschutz Austria
  • VGT
  • Animals Friends Croatia
  • CIWF
  • Dierencoalitie
  • Eurogroup for Animals
  • L214
Chicks being sorted on a conveyor belt

Learn more about the life of male chicks

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Michael Kellner

Michael Kellner

PR International Officer

+43 (1) 89 50 20 20

+43 (0) 664 504 38 97

VIER PFOTEN International 
Linke Wienzeile 236
1150 Vienna, Austria

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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