As part of animal welfare reforms, the French Agriculture Minister, Didier Guillaume, has decided to outlaw the cruel practice of culling male chicks by the end of 2021. This move has received a positive response from the activists fighting for the welfare of animals. Every year, around 7 billion male chicks are culled as they cannot lay eggs or provide meat. These chicks go through electrocution, shredding machines, or poisonous gas. France is among a handful of countries that have taken an initiative to end the culling of male chicks.
The Agriculture Minister is hopeful about a method that would possibly allow the sex of a chick to be determined before it has hatched. The only way, according to the researchers, is to take samples by piercing each egg. This meticulous process won’t work on an industrial scale and is not cost-effective either. 45 million male chicks are killed every year in Germany, where the practice has been outlawed but continues to take place until a viable method for determining the sex can be found. In November 2019, both France and Germany announced to end the culling of male chicks. The killing of male chicks shortly after birth is an infamous practice in the food production industry around the world.
Also, from 2021, France would require anesthesia to be given to piglets before castrating them, announced Guillaume. The piglets are neutered to fatten them and to avoid a potent smell that the fatty meat of the non-neutered boar emits. The poultry industry in France is a thriving one but has faced some tensions owing to the radical changes demanded by activists with regard to the farming methods.
There have been occasions where activists have vandalized butcher shops. These activists are of the opinion that consuming meat violates the rights of other species on earth. According to the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), anesthesia for the piglets isn’t enough and that castration should be banned altogether. CIWF also hoped that eggs from chickens that are raised in cages would be banned. The French L214 group commented that the reforms were “not ambitious” and “do not address the basic problems”. According to the group, the focus should have been avoiding intensive animal farming and improving slaughter conditions.
We hope other countries try to imitate this initiative taken by France and reduce animal slaughter to a minimum.