The “systematic killing” of male chicks in the poultry supply chain is a “disturbing phenomenon” that needs to be phased out, European Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has told a meeting of farm ministers.
Some countries, such as Germany and France, have undertaken measures to curb the killing of male chicks in the laying-hen sector, however, more needs to be done, Kyriakides explained.
Animal Welfare Concerns
“Our citizens care about animal welfare, and they do not accept such practices,” Agra-Facts reported Kyriakides as saying. “I want to propose to phase out this practice, and I hope I can count on your support.”
Measures to stop chick-culling are being integrated into the ongoing impact assessment on the revision of EU animal welfare legislation, which will also take into account the current economic situation.
“Energy prices have soared, and the price of many commodities and goods, including food, has also risen,” Kyriakides added. “Producers are faced with increased prices for their inputs, while many consumers are forced to choose between heating their homes and filling their fridges.”
Ethical Production Systems
The poultry and egg sector needs to take these concerns on board and develop more ethical and sustainable production systems, Kyriakides said, noting that the industry could “reorient certain practices for breeding and selection”, so as to benefit from new technologies.
“We will assess both the short-term and the long-term challenges,” she added, “and, as always, we will work hard to present to you a balanced and sustainable solution, which respects animal welfare.”
Germany introduced a ban on the killing of chicks at the start of this year, while France has also introduced similar legislation, with a one-year transition period implemented, to enable farmers to source additional equipment. Austria and Luxembourg have also prohibited the systematic killing of male chicks.