Too many people are still unfamiliar with the treatment of chicks. In fact, the practice of factory farming is too many people still unknown especially considering the treatment of male chicks. In comparison to their female “counterparts”, male chicks are cruelly killed the day they were born since they cannot lay eggs and thus are of no use to the industry. However, this cruel treatment is about to change due to the sustained pressure and commitment of animal rights activists. The United Egg Producers have decided to eliminate the culling of newborn male chicks by 2020 latest. This is not only a milestone but also a historic tipping point.
“It’s a disturbing practice most Americans probably know nothing about: On the day they’re born, all the fluffy male chicks born to egg-laying hens at hatcheries are gruesomely killed — usually by being run, while conscious, through what is essentially a blender.
That’s because they’re useless to the industry. They can’t grow up to lay eggs, and they weren’t bred to be the fast-growing chickens sold as meat.
But that’s going to change. In what counts as huge news in the animal welfare world, United Egg Producers — the industry group that represents hatcheries that produce 95 percent of all eggs produced in the United States — announced Thursday that it would end this “culling” of millions of chicks by 2020, or as soon as it’s “economically feasible” and an alternative is “commercially available,” according to the Humane League, which negotiated the agreement.
What’s the alternative? The main one is called in-ovo sexing, and it identifies the gender of a future chick inside a fertilized egg. The technology, developed in Germany and the Netherlands, will mean those male chicks will never be born — or ground or gassed or suffocated, the kill methods some hatcheries employ. Other alternatives are also being explored, including one that would turn male chick eggs a different color from those of females, Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, said in a recent interview.
“We are aware that there are a number of international research initiatives underway in this area, and we encourage the development of an alternative with the goal of eliminating the culling,” Chad Gregory, the president and chief executive of United Egg Producers, said in a statement.
The pledge follows a wave of vows by major U.S. companies — including McDonald’s and Walmart — to switch in the coming years to eggs laid by hens that are not confined in cages. Those commitments are one pillar of a series of big, consumer-driven animal rights achievements in recent years, many of them in the farm industry.
But the male chick issue hasn’t been at the top of the agenda of most animal welfare organizations, which have focused more on cage-free eggs. As Shapiro explained recently, the males are “the lucky ones” compared with the females that go on to lay about 270 eggs each year in cages the size of a piece of notebook paper.”
Read the full article at washingtonpost.com!