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InWorld Poultry of October 10, 2013, an article has been published about what to do with 40 million male chicks per year from layer lines, in Germany alone. That was the question raised during the 51st Franchise distributor meeting of Lohmann Tierzucht. Just a few days earlier the German state Nordrhein-Westfalen banned the killing of male day-old chicks in layer hatcheries, with a transition period of only 1 year. Politicians of the neighbouring state Niedersachsen immediately announced they were thinking to do the same, implying that the ban could be rolled out over the whole of Germany and even beyond.
"Let me be very clear on this subject, we have a very serious and acute problem," managing director of Lohmann Tierzucht Rudolf Preisinger stated. And indeed, he is right. The discussion of killing of male day-old chicks is a political discussion that has been going on in Europe for the past 20 years and has now come to the point that the subject needs to be addressed. It is now a fundamental and political problem. Nordrhein- Westfalens Minister responsible for animal welfare Johannes Remmel (Die Grünen) categorized in a German publication in the German Focus Online the killing of male day-old chickens as absolutely horrible. According to his opinion the killing of chickens in the hatchery has to come to a stop:
• Regardless of what the alternatives are for the use of male day old chicks after hatching;
• Regardless of the question if the methods of killing are animal friendly or not;
• Regardless of the question how to compensate the 180.000.000 male day-old-chicks that are used in zoos;
• Even regardless of the question that there is currently no solution at hand, either for sexing eggs or what to do with a poultry product that the consumers don't want.
And there are more issues to address: How to deal with the doubling of the use of animal feed and the produced chicken manure, because:
• These male chickens eat as much as their sisters
• They litter as much as their sisters
• They don’t produce enough meat
• The bone structure is too weak and will break easily
• The price of a processed male chicken to be used for human consumption is too high compared to the price for chicken that is produced for its meat
Than there is a last fundamental question left and that is what to do with the broiler chickens that are disabled, sick, cripple, late hatched bchickens and so on. Its not allowed macerating them anymore, together with the eggshells, but what to do with them instead?
It is a political issue that has been put on the table in the hope that over time, the question whether or not its legit to kill chickens after sexing is going to be answered once and for all.