The transformation of the family farm into the factory farm has led to some pretty disturbing new trends in how meat animals are raised and treated. Take chick shredding, for example, a practice that will now be phased out and replaced in Germany.
Each year in the United States alone, more than 100 million newly hatched male chicks are either ground up alive, gassed, or suffocated in plastic bags because they will not lay eggs, but now a new technology developed in Germany may stop this heartless practice.
Chick shredding is not something that you’ll find publicized by the chicken industry, but for egg producers it is a common practice. Male chicks are considered a ‘waste product’, and disturbing as it is, they are disposed of using brutal and heartless methods because they are not commercially viable. In addition to not being able to lay eggs, chickens bred for egg production are not considered suitable to be raised for meat because the industry has created a separate hybrid breed for meat production, and consumer preferences are now biased.
After much pressure from animal rights activists, the German government supported the development of a method that determines the sex of a fertilized egg, before a chick develops inside of it. This allows the male-identified eggs to be removed from the hatchery before developing into sentient animals.
In Germany alone, about 45 million male chicks are shredded or suffocated each year. Agriculture minister Christian Schmidt told Germany’s Bild newspaper that hatcheries in the country will start to use the new technology in late 2016 and that the shredding of male chicks should cease in the country by 2017, making it the first to stop this cruel practice.
Most people are completely unaware that the egg industry is participating in mass animal slaughter. Half of the eggs hatched in the industry are male, which means producers are grinding up millions upon millions of live young animals each year.
In Germany, the efforts of animal rights activists have paid off, and if enough pressure is put forth in other countries the practice may come to an end altogether. Kindness and respect should not stop with human beings.
The video below gives a glimpse into how the egg industry treats baby chicks.
The conditions that chickens are subjected to at factory farms are shown in the video below.
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