News Blog Articles Italy’s leading egg producer promises to stop killing day old male chicks
Italy’s leading egg producer promises to stop killing day old male chicks

Italy’s leading egg producer promises to stop killing day old male chicks

December 8th, 2020

Worldwide, 6.5 billion day-old male chicks are killed each year because the egg industry considers them to be unwanted by-products of egg production. This is because male chickens cannot lay eggs and are not suitable to be raised for meat.

Last week, the trade association representing the largest egg producers in Italy committed to adopting in-ovo sexing technologies. These technologies make it possible to test the sex of embryos inside the egg during the early stages of incubation. This development means it’s now possible to hatch only female chicks, making the killing of day-old male chicks obsolete.


Image credit: Farm Transparency Project


In New Zealand, nearly 3 million day-old male chicks are killed each year either by gassing or by being minced alive in a process called maceration. While these methods are legal under  the Animal Welfare Act 1999, the killing of day-old male chicks has been subject to scrutiny in New Zealand and around the globe. Both Germany and France plan to ban the culling of unwanted male chicks by 2022 in favour of using in-ovo sexing technology.

In 2016, the Executive Director of the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand, Michael Brooks, told Stuff that hatcheries in New Zealand would look to adopt in-ovo sexing technologies if they’re proven to work.

Now that these technologies have proven to be effective, the New Zealand egg industry has the responsibility to spare millions of day-old male chicks cruel and unnecessary pain and suffering. SAFE will be closely following any developments on this in New Zealand for the foreseeable future. So watch this space.

Visit our website to learn more about the lives of hens in New Zealand. The kindest choice you can make for male chicks and hens alike is to leave eggs off your plate. Try these delicious egg-free recipes. 



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