France to end male chick culls by end of 2022

The transition will begin on 1 March
calendar icon 25 February 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

According to a press release from France's Ministry of Agriculture, France will become the first country in the world (along with Germany) to stop the elimination of male chicks from egg production.

Every year, 50 million male day-old chicks are crushed in France for lack of valuation and economic outlet. Putting an end to this practice of systematic killing of male chicks is a strong societal expectation to which the industry and government felt compelled to respond.

The commitment made in July 2021 by the government, and in particular by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, to the gradual end of the elimination of male chicks from the laying sector in 2022 is therefore now a reality and is specified by decree.

Thus, alternative solutions can now be deployed within the laying sector:

  • Mainly, sexing in the egg (ovosexage) to eliminate those containing male embryos from the egg;
  • Breeding of brothers of laying hens (shells);
  • The development of so-called "dural" strains, i.e. producing birds that can be valued in the laying sector for females, in the flesh sector for males.

The decree, which was published on 6 February, specifies the timetable for transition with three stages. By 1 March, hatcheries must have justified orders for egg-sexing equipment or any other means to meet the objective set. By 1 June, hatcheries must justify the initiation of the work. By 31 December 2022, all hatcheries will have to be equipped and equipment operational to process the production concerned.

"We announced it and it is now a reality," said Julien Denormandie, Minister of Agriculture and Food. "2022 marks the end of the elimination of male chicks in laying sectors. France is, therefore, putting an end to this practice thanks to a dynamic sector and a collective desire to undertake a major transition to meet a strong expectation of society."

France continues to try to convince other European Member States to join them in the ban.

Melanie Epp

Melanie Epp is a freelance agricultural journalist from Ontario, Canada.

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