France has just banned the killing of male chicks with shredders, in a sign that the world is changing in some way, and people are starting to become aware of avoiding unnecessary torture towards other forms of life.
French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume has just announced that 2021 will be the last year in which companies will be able to continue crushing live male chicks. This is a procedure that has always been developed by the poultry industry and which claims the lives of some 7 billion chicks a year (almost the same number of human beings) worldwide, of which some 50 million are killed in France.
Why are they killed?
Because these hatchlings are not profitable. Males do not lay eggs and their bodies are not good enough to be fattened and sold as meat. Based on this capitalist mindset and according to the latest European directive of 2009, the killing of these birds is allowed as long as it occurs within the first 72 hours of birth and death is immediate.
Crushing or suffocation?
Crushers are the most unpleasant procedure of these executions, to such an extent that they are “the cherry on top” of the animalist awareness campaigns. But the killing of live chicks is also done in other ways: as popular as these machines are those for CO2 suffocation. Although the new French and last year’s Swiss regulations bans shredding of male chicks, they have not yet done so for gas chambers, a type of death that also entails suffering for the poor and defenceless animals.
Abortion will be law
The next step to be taken in order to avoid unnecessary animal suffering, is the least cruel alternative available right now (not to mention going vegan) is laser technologies to stop the chemical composition, so that an abortion of the embryo inside the egg is performed, in order to prevent the birth of chicks, thus avoiding their subsequent sacrifice and suffering. This practice has been named Ovo Sexing and the Seleggt company says it is perfecting its use on a large scale, which could make it a real alternative for the poultry industry worldwide.
And is it a profitable alternative?
That’s the crux of the matter. In 2013 the North Westphalia region of Germany banned the slaughter of chicks, but because of the cost of not slaughtering them, several farms appealed and won in court. According to German animal welfare legislation, “no one should inflict pain, suffering or harm on an animal without reasonable cause”, and the ruling ruled that the price difference was “reasonable cause”. Packs of eggs produced using this method and being marketed as “cruelty free” have a price that varies, depending on the supermarket selling them, from a handful of extra cents per pack of six eggs to a difference of up to 40% more than the price per unit.
What about the rest of the world?
To tell the truth, not much progress has been made on this issue, but with the news of the end of the extermination of birds by shredders in France, many voices have begun to rise around the world to call for a ban on this cruel method of animal sacrifice.
There is still a long way to go when it comes to the protection and rights of animals of all species.
A deep improvement in the productive processes of food is needed, in order to avoid the animal mistreatment at the time of its sacrifice so that they can be our next dinner or, on the contrary, it is necessary that science finds the way to impel quickly the development of cultured meat, that can supply the proteinic necessities of the carnivorous human beings, conserving the same qualities of flavor and consistency of the real meat.