Feb 01

Germany Becomes First Country to Ban Egg Industry’s Shredding of Live Chickens


Male chick.

Each year millions of male chicks are grounded up alive by the commercial egg industry, due to them not being able to produce eggs. Now, in a historic move, Germany has become the first country in the world to ban this abhorrent practice.

According to Metro, there are roughly 45 million chicks killed through this method each year in Germany; the number being so high because around half of all chickens born into the egg industry are males.

As part of the new law, modern technology must be used to determine the sex of each fertilized egg before the chick inside develops, with all of the male-identified eggs to be removed from the hatchery. The male eggs will then be used for other products rather than allowing the chick to develop and hatch, only to then kill it.

‘Many people don’t even realise chick shredding happens, but I am sure they would welcome the news that scientists in Germany have found a way to avoid it”, says Shadow Environment Minister Kerry McCarthy. ‘I am encouraged to hear that the German agriculture minister believes this could pave the way for the practice to end by 2017, and hope the UK government will look at whether we can follow suit.’

Mimi Bekhechi, the Director of PETA, welcomes the change, but says that the evils of the egg industry will only stop once people give up eggs entirely: ‘The sisters of those male chicks will endure an equally hideous fate as long as people eat eggs”, Bekhechi says. “The way to help both male and female chicks is to make the ethical decision to stop eating their eggs and flesh altogether and to switch to plant-based foods.’


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  1. Harmony

    “modern technology must be used to determine the sex of each fertilized egg before the chick inside develops, with all of the male-identified eggs to be removed from the hatchery” – how are they going to do that? Genetic karyotyping for 45 million eggs in not really viable. I do however suspect that they may expose hens to hormonal therapies to entice a mainly female egg production and therefore reduce the numbers of males and increase their source of female chicks.
    “The male eggs will then be used for other products rather than allowing the chick to develop and hatch” – what does this mean? They’ll be killed as foetuses and turned into fertiliser?

    1. Paul

      as far as i know there is an infrared scan in development that can determine the sex. do not ask me how that works, but i am sure one can find more details in the internet.

    2. Paul

      … and regarding further uses of the eggs: maybe they go into vaccine production.

  2. Dawn

    Germany well done this is a step in right direction hope other countries will follow your lead in this and this barbaric practice of chick shredding comes to an end completely. Great Britain hope we will step up and do same. Any end to animal abuse is a good thing.

  3. Chris Anastasy (Dressage For The Rest Of Us)

    And of course there is always a jerk from PETA quoted, as if the world cares one bit what these nutjobs think.

    I’m just glad the male chick shredding is over and I hope this new way of doing things spreads across the world. Ethical farming is the future.

    1. karin

      “Ethical farming” is an oxymoron. Any farming of animals is immoral, abusive, and results in premature and unnatural death. Raising vegetables is the only cruelty free farming.

      1. Lizzy

        Agree 100% Karin. We have no right to use and abuse other living things any way we want. It’s totally unethical to bring someone to life only to kill them. They are not pieces of furniture. They feel pain and experience joy and friendship just like humans do but we feel superior just because these poor innocent beings are powerless against us. We subjugate them and make them our slaves to produce, produce, produce. Becoming a vegan and trying to do as little harm as possible is the only way to be ethical and compassionate to all living beings.

      2. Jay Smith

        Plants are also living things. If we complain that vegans are cutting plants that are part of the what provides oxygen for all animal’s and humans to breath, then I guess we will be a very thin society.
        After all we can always eat dirt. Providing that an animal did not poop on it first. But then again chickens do eat corn and that is not meat…….enjoy!

    2. Ibby

      Chris has the right idea. I don’t think these PETA nutjobs realize just how bad they are for their own cause. Ethical farming – as in, raising animals humanely and not causing them unnecessary suffering – is something most people can get behind. Expecting the entire world to go vegan and life off alfalfa sprouts? Yeah, not gonna happen. It’s not like yuppies haven’t already done enough damage to agricultural industries with their obsession over stuff like kale and quinoa.

    3. Mandy

      Do you think people are more likely to slowly switch to humane methods, or to immediately just give up animal products altogether?

  4. LadyFarrier

    Ethical farming is NOT an oxymoron. Criminy.

  5. Sandra Irwin

    Wonderful Result.

  6. Antony

    Exactly! Food Inc. has a great example of good farming.

  7. Sandra Irwin

    Wonderful Result. No More unnecessary suffering for the hatched Male Chickens.

  8. andrew


  9. Jules

    Jerk/nut job from PETA? Oh you mean someone that cares about animals and has their eyes open to cruelty. There are alternatives to eggs you know Chris, imagine! You are reading the Vegan Herald but probably hadn’t noticed with your head in the sand believing such a thing as ‘ethical’ farming.

  10. Ibby

    Umm why don’t they just send the male chicks to chicken farms where they can be raised for meat? I know Germany is bigger on pork but surely they still have a use for poultry.

  11. Bonnie

    If you think ethical farming is possible in commercial farms, just google ‘pig crates’. Guaranteed to turn doubters into vegans. Breeding an animal who suffers every day of his life, is then traumatically slaughtered for his meat–and called nutritious for humans–that’s an oxymoron in my book.

    Can’t understand why anyone–animal lover or not–would consider it healthy to eat animals who lived every minute in dire suffering. Each person should educate themselves and watch the videos of animals being horribly abused–then make their own minds up.

    Unfortunately, most meat eaters don’t want to be educated and sickened to the thought of their meat. So they refuse to watch the videos, and prefer to consider vegans and vegetarians the crazy ones.

    I personally think there will be a special place in hell for those who abuse children and animals–the ones who have no voice.

  12. Carnation

    If we all went vegetarian, do you really think these animals would be kept as pets? Maybe the odd few here and there, but sheep and cattle grazing the fields would be a thing of the past…and those very fields would make way for more concrete jungles. Why should meat eaters sacrifice for someone’s beliefs? I agree about the chicks…well done Germany…but the over the top fanatics need to keep their heads a tad leveller, and be more realistic without shoving their ideas of morals down everyone’s throat….xx

  13. Bonnie

    If demand for animal meat went down, fewer animals would be bred. Giving up beef would even reduce the carbon footprint more than giving up our cars would.

    It’s everyone’s choice of what to feed their bodies. I just suggest people educate themselves to what meat is doing to their health. Read the China Report, watch Forks Over Knives, etc. Or just google pig crates, factory farming of beef, etc., and decide if flesh from animals who were abused and suffering every single day of their short life–sounds like healthy nutrition.

    Everyone has the choice. Education is key, in my opinion.

  14. Bonnie

    PS. Sheep and cattle grazing in fields is not factory farming. Factory farming is keeping animals in tight confinement such that some cannot even lie down–as they stand in their own waste. Or crated in body cages where their babies have to suckle through bars. That’s why they fill them full of antibiotics. It is in no way a healthy environment for any animal.

    How can their flesh possibly be good for humans? Look at the rise in today’s prevalent diseases and wonder if their could be a connection. Then read longterm studies like the China Report and decide for yourself.

  15. Krishnan

    Please stop killing animals.

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