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Italian egg producers move to end male chick culling by adopting in-ovo sexing

Italian egg producers approve the introduction of in-ovo sexing and adhere to Animal Equality's call to end the culling of male chicks.

2 December 2020, at 8:19am

Every year in Italy there are 25 million male chicks that are slaughtered within the egg industry, but the solution exists. Assoavi decides to join the appeal of Animal Equality and declares to be in favour of the introduction of in-ovo sexing, an important step on which the trade association is already working.


Following the dialogue with Animal Equality, Assoavi - the trade association that represents the largest egg producers in Italy - declares its commitment to the introduction of in-ovo sexing, an innovative technology that allows farmers to identify the sex of the embryo still inside the eggs, thus completely avoiding the birth of millions of male chicks and their elimination.

"We are committed," said Assoavi President Bagnara, "to encourage the introduction of these technologies in Italy, actively supporting the awareness of the issue among our members and working actively with the companies that produce them to have them as soon as possible also available to Italian egg producers, as soon as they are commercially available, applicable and economically viable".

In a longer statement, Assoavi said:

"Assoavi encourages the development of technologies for the sexing of embryos in eggs (in-ovo sexing) and is committed to promoting these innovative technologies at the associates of the egg supply chain as soon as the technologies will be commercially available, applicable and economically viable."

Animal Equality heralds this first historic commitment by the Italian trade association, which decides to seriously address a very serious problem involving the entire supply chain and to act promptly by adopting the technologies currently available.

As already widely documented by Animal Equality’s investigations, male chicks are considered unproductive and are therefore eliminated as soon as they are born.

Aware of this situation, Italian egg producers, like many in Germany, France and Holland, have decided to introduce the solution currently available on the Italian market.

In addition, Assoavi and Animal Equality have addressed some concrete requests to the Government, so that the institutions are also committed to make the Italian food sector and its supply chains more innovative and more attentive to the respect and welfare of animals.

The requests developed by Animal Equality, addressed in particular to the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza and the Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova, include:

  • Promoting the introduction of these technologies in the agri-food industry in Italy
  • To publicly express themselves in favour of the introduction of these technologies in the agri-food industry in Italy
  • Supporting companies and trade associations that publicly declare themselves in favour of the introduction of these technologies in the agri-food industry in Italy;

The solution to slaughtering one day-old male chicks seems to be available for Italy, but the real extent of the availability and the economic and productive sustainability of these solutions is still to be verified.

"The statement with which Assoavi commits to promote the introduction of in-ovo sexing represents a truly historic moment for animals bred for food purposes, and in particular for male chicks, which suffer one of the most shocking injustices. We are therefore satisfied with the work in progress, which is aimed at making this technology feasible in our country as soon as possible. Thanks to the interest of Assoavi and numerous companies, we are sure that this epochal change will soon become a reality in Italy as well" says Alice Trombetta, Director of Animal Equality Italia.