The global farming industry has always been rooted in controversy over the rights of the innocent animals who are forced into harsh, unlivable conditions from birth. It’s never so much about the inevitable death of the animal, but more so the unfathomable torture they endure before it. While rare, there are plenty of organic local farms throughout the world who raise their animals to be killed for food, but ensure that they have a normal farm animal life before the fact.
In Europe, animal rights are often a hot topic of discussion, as different areas of the continent have stricter restrictions when compared to others. Recently, France made some major moves to ban an archaic and straight up aggressive practice done in the industrialized farming industry.
The practice involves the slaughtering of male chicks when they’re hatched. What most individuals don’t know about the chicken industry specifically, is that hens are really the cream of the crop when it comes to both meat and egg production (obviously males can’t produce eggs). Because of this, billions of male chicks are slaughtered, in a practice known as “shredding” by farmers, every year around the world.
Hens are more profitable than male chicks in the industry because they grow much quicker, can produce eggs, and in general have more meat. So more times than not when male chicks are hatched, industrial farmers throw them right into a shredder, live. It’s also been reported that some also suffocate them in bags, or gas them to death. In France, however, government workers are listening to those concerned with the extremely inhumane practice that takes the lives of billions of innocent chicks every year; so much so that they’ve banned it.
“Nothing will be like it was before in poultry farming after the end of 2021. We [the French gov.] want to move forward, there’s no going back, the government is committed to it. The aim is to oblige farms to do this by the end of 2021. We need to find a method that works on a large scale. The ministry is going to publish regulatory texts in the next few weeks to move towards the banning of painful practices in farming husbandry,” agriculture minister Didier Guillaume announced this week.
In addition, Guillaume also announced that part of the “banning of painful practices in farming husbandry,” will include the practice of castrating young male pigs without any anesthetic.
While 2021 may seem like a long way off, the logistics of the work that goes into a ban as massive as this surely justifies it. The farming industry is extremely extensive and complex, and banning a practice that’s been in the industry for years upon years is much easier said than done. It requires the creation of new methods for gender population regulation amongst the chicks. In an ideal world, all the unneeded males would simply go to a farm to live out the rest of their days, however, in this world, the humane option is often never the choice.
Germany is another European country that is in the midst of the same sort of banning issue. In fact, back in 2015, Germany became the first country in the world to announce a ban on the mass killing of all chicks. However, just last year the German courts announced that farmers could continue the slaughtering’s until they figure out how to develop a newer technology that would be considered more humane.
The technology that the German courts were referring to would allow industrial farmers to determine the sex of a chick while it’s still unhatched, so this way they could simply throw out the eggs containing male embryos before they even develop into a living being, or contribute them to egg collections.
According to reports, the German government has invested a total of $5.5 million in the technology, which should be ready to use by the end of this year. Once available, the ban on mass killings will be officially enforced in Germany, and the technology will likely be shared amongst its other European counterparts.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.