ZDG's Ripke speaks on law banning killing of rooster chicks

ZDG demands an appropriate transition period, honest communication
calendar icon 18 September 2020
clock icon 4 minute read
Friedrich-Otto Ripke, President of the Central Association of the German Poultry Industry
Friedrich-Otto Ripke, President of the Central Association of the German Poultry Industry

Friedrich-Otto Ripke, President of the Central Association of the German Poultry Industry (ZDG), comments on the draft law banning the killing of rooster chicks presented by German Food and Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner:

“As the German poultry industry, we would prefer to end chick killing today rather than tomorrow. The time horizon of a ban on chick killing by the end of 2021, which has now been mentioned by Federal Minister Julia Klöckner, has repeatedly been mentioned by the poultry industry to the ministry as a possible exit date. We have obviously been able to provide valuable input here; we are delighted.

The accusation that the German poultry industry has remained inactive is simply wrong. The opposite is the case: for a good 15 years we have been investing in the development of methods for sex determination in eggs, we breed dual-purpose breeds and create fattening places for brother cocks. Together with the food retail trade (LEH), the poultry industry has drawn up a detailed industry agreement to end chick killing, which shows an exit scenario comparable to that of the draft law - and goes even further with the clear focus on egg killing-free supply chains at the level of the egg product in food retailing.

We take a critical view of the short transition period at the end of 2023, within which the end of the incubation process after the 6th day of incubation is allowed. Currently, there is not a single method of sex determination in the egg that is ready for practice before the 7th day of incubation! Politics cannot ignore these facts! An appropriate, practical design of the transition period is required. We are happy to help shape the content of this process.

We need honest communication with the public. The impression must not be given that a short-term solution by the end of 2021 is possible without any problems! Even with active use of all contributions to the solution through the available sex determination processes, dual-purpose chickens and brood-cock rearing, covering the German demand for eggs from exclusively chick-killing-free supply chains by the end of next year is an immense effort and is fraught with uncertainties for German hatcheries and egg producers.

A purely national law does not apply abroad! In the context of the free movement of goods in the EU, for example, Polish or Dutch hatcheries can and will continue to kill male chicks on the first day of life and offer eggs / egg products produced there in the context of this supply chain here in the food retail sector as well as in the bulk consumer segment. But female chicks from these foreign hatcheries that have practiced chick killing can also be legally housed in Germany. Only EU law can resolve this dilemma."

The Central Association of the German Poultry Industry e. V., as a professional umbrella and umbrella organization, represents the interests of the German poultry industry at the federal and EU level towards political, official and professional organizations, the public and abroad. The approximately 8,000 members are organized in federal and state associations.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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