Friday, June 10, 2016

Egg industry agrees to stop grinding up male chicks as soon as an alternative is commercially feasible

Washington Post photo by Juana Arias
"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," Karin Brulliard reports for The Washington Post.

"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."

The leading alternative to grinding, gassing or suffocation is a technology that determines the sex of a fertilized egg. Another possibility is a gimmick that would turn male-chick eggs a different color. (Read more)

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