France to ban mass shredding of live male chicks

Chicks. Photo credit: Getty

France is set to ban the live shredding of male chicks by 2021, announced agriculture minister Didier Guillaume in Paris on Tuesday. 

Male chicks are unwanted by poultry farmers for meat because they don't grow as fast as hens and there are no eggs, reports CNN.

This results in an estimated seven billion male chicks being shredded alive or even suffocated to death in bags or gassed.

France will be one of the first countries in the world to ban the culling of chicks using any of these methods, reports the Guardian. 

"We want to move forward, there's no going back. The government is committed to it," Guillaume said at a press conference.

However, Maxime Chaumet, general secretary of the poultry trade body, Comit National pour la Promotion de l'Oeuf, told CNN it is concerning because currently there is no other alternative methods to shredding available and more research needs to be done before next year. 

"So at the end of 2021 we hope that we will have a solution," he said.

Guillaume said he hopes to find a method soon that would allow farmers to determine a chick's gender through the embryo before it hatched. 

Germany has also banned the large scale killings of chicks, however, in June it was ruled the slaughter could continue until a method was found to determine the gender of the chicks in the egg. 

Guillaume's announcement comes as part of animal welfare reforms, as he also revealed the practice of castrating piglets without anesthesia would also be outlawed.