Egg Sex Tech

Did you know that the UK egg industry kills 40 million day-old male chicks every year?  All commercial egg systems do this: not just laying cage systems but barn reared, organic and even free-range egg units.

But did you know that none of this is necessary?  Commercially viable technology is common practice in Europe but UK farmers choose not to use it to save money.  With the UK government failing to make this law, organisations such as Verify Humanity are fighting for change!

 

Questions and Answers

What is Egg Sex Tech?

  • Egg Sex Tech (EST) is the name of Verify Humanity's campaign to bring about the end to male chick culling in the commercial egg industry.  It raises awareness of all the different technologies that exist that can determine the sex of an egg before hatching.  This would instantaneously wipe out the need for killing day-old male chicks.

Why does the egg industry kill day-old male chicks?  

  • Male chicks are partly killed because they can't lay eggs.

  • They used to be reared for meat, but to improve profits, chickens were selectively bred for either egg production or meat production.  This means the male chicks from hens specialised for egg production now cannot put on weight quickly enough to make them profitable.  It is actually cheaper to dispose of them as a waste product.

How does the egg industry kill day-old male chicks?

  • The UK has two methods of killing day-old male chicks.  Maceration which is where live chicks are fed into a grinder and suffocation by gassing in a sealed unit. 

  • All RSPCA Assured egg-laying hen hatcheries use carbon dioxide or argon to gas their chicks.

  • However, it is legal practice to have a macerator on-hand for destroying eggs or in case of emergencies.

 

How long does it take for a chick to die from gassing compared to maceration?

  • It takes up to 3 minutes for a chick to die with an 80% saturation of CO2 or argon gas.​

  • If used correctly, chicks killed by maceration will die instantaneously.

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) says that suffocating chicks is quick and painless so is there a problem?

  • Firstly we do not accept that 3 minutes is quick.  Research also reveals there is "vigorous uncontrolled wing flapping and body convulsions" proving it is far from painless.​

Isn't it better that we gas chicks rather than macerate them? 

  • Verify Humanity does not advocate for any method of killing chicks.  As commercially viable technologies exist to determine the sex of an egg it removes the need for this process.  We should therefore be asking why commercial egg units do not invest in Egg Sex Technologies.

Are day-old chicks sentient?

  • According to research and the The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, chicks are considered sentient. 

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