France will ban the routine egg industry practice of “culling” male chicks, French Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume announced this week in a press conference. Male chicks—who are neither suited for egg-laying nor being raised for meat—are seen as a nuisance in the egg industry and are routinely ground up alive in maceration machines, or suffocated. “We want to move forward, there’s no going back. The government is committed to it,” Guillaume said. “The aim is to oblige firms to do this by the end of 2021. We need to find a method that works on a large scale.” In 2015, Germany agreed to eliminate chick culling by 2020, a move that would save approximately 45 million chicks from being ground alive annually. The German government has since extended the implementation of the ban until its Seleggt technology—which determines the sex of the embryo allowing farmers to destroy an egg before the chick is born—is fully operational later this year. The technology would be available for use by other countries, including France. In addition to ending the cruel practice of chick-culling, Guillaume announced that France will ban castrating piglets without anesthesia, instead requiring animal farmers to use proper pain relief methods when removing the pigs’ sexual organs. “The ministry is going to publish regulatory texts in the next few weeks to move towards the banning of painful practices in farming husbandry,” Guilleme said.

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