Chicks that just hatched

Call for an Eu-Wide End to the Killing of Male Chicks

The German and French Agricultural delegations have written to the European Commission calling for a ban


Brussels, 17 October 2022 – Today, at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting, the German and French Agriculture Ministers brought forward a paper that demands an end of the practice of systematic killing of male chicks in the EU, calling for the European Commission to adopt this position.

In Europe some Member States have already banned the practice, such as Germany and France in 2022. Recently, killing of male chicks without a specific reason was banned in Austria and in Luxembourg they decided to ban the systematic destruction of chicks.

The paper has the support of Austrian, Belgian, Cyprus, Finnish, French, German, Irish, Luxembourgish and Portuguese delegations.

The paper sets out why key reforms and new legislation are necessary. The paper highlights that, “In the European Union alone, each year, hundreds of millions male chicks from laying hen hatcheries are disposed of after hatching, due to a lack of economic value.”

“This practice does not meet the standards or ethics of EU consumers. According to a YouGov survey among 10,000 EU citizens seven out ten participants support the ban."

Andreas Manz, FOUR PAWS EU Farm Animal Policy Coordinator

“We now call on the European Commission to conclude its impact assessment of an EU-wide ban and begin to lay out the foundations of a new legislative proposal. It is therefore crucial that all Ministers of Agriculture from all 27 Member States are in full support of this reform as this issue progresses."

“The systematic killing of male chicks has to end. While the ultimate goal of course is moving back to dual-purpose breeds, where both sexes are equally valued.”


Letter from the AGRI delegations:

For every hen raised for egg production purposes, one male chick 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.

Chicks being sorted on a conveyor belt

Millions of male chicks die in egg production

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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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