United Egg Producers (UEP) announced that it is encouraging the development of alternatives to the practice of male chick culling, with the goal of phasing out the practice in egg production. The decision follows a discussion at the organization’s May 2016 board of directors meeting, wherein it was decided that the increasingly sensitive topic needed to be addressed.
“United Egg Producers and our egg farmer members support the elimination of day-old male chick culling after hatch for the laying industry. We are aware that there are a number of international research initiatives underway in this area, and we encourage the development of an alternative, with the goal of eliminating the culling of day-old male chicks by 2020 or as soon as it is commercially available and economically feasible,” the group said in a statement.
During the process, UEP engaged animal rights group The Humane League, which, along with other activist groups, has campaigned against the egg industry on the topic in the past.
“The U.S. egg industry is committed to continuing our proud history of advancing excellent welfare practices throughout the supply chain, and a breakthrough in this area will be a welcome development,” UEP said.
No countries have banned the industry practice, but the topic is garnering increased attention.
A German court ruled in April that the industry practice does not violate the country’s animal protection laws. According to the High Administrative Court, the “breeding of male chicks is not in keeping with the stated goal of chicken breeding and its business guidelines,” and the practice is “part of the process for providing the population with eggs and meat.”
Germany’s Green Party had also introduced a bill in the German Parliament attempting to ban the process, but Parliament voted against it in March.