Anna, from our Egg Sex Team, has shared a statement on the report, and explains what it means for chicks, consumers and producers.
“The lives of all chicks and turkey poults have intrinsic value” AWC, 2023
Verify Humanity wholeheartedly commends the Animal Welfare Committee's progressive recommendation against male chick culling in favour of egg sexing technology in the UK egg industry. The AWC's above statement is a welcome step towards breaking down specieism and championing compassion for all animals.
“It would, therefore, be preferable to undertake sexing procedures on an embryo at any incubation stage rather than to allow male chicks to hatch and then be processed for killing.” AWC, 2023
This move signifies a pivotal moment in animal welfare and aligns the UK with other European countries that have taken a stand against the inhumane practice of male chick culling. The technology is not only a more ethical approach but also offers substantial ecological and economic benefits.
The adoption of in-ovo sexing technology is a significant advancement for the industry. It eliminates the need to hatch and then cull male chicks, thus conserving resources and reducing ecological impact. This process is cost-effective, adding only a nominal amount to the retail price of eggs while greatly enhancing animal welfare. For example, some of the available screening (egg sexing) process used adds about 1-3 pennies per egg, which is a small price to pay for the substantial ethical and environmental benefits.
“Government should make the routine culling of newly hatched chicks and turkey poults, due to their sex, illegal as soon as viable, accurate methods for sexing eggs prior to hatch are available to be implemented in GB hatcheries.” AWC, 2023
For the UK consumer, this decision should be a source of pride and relief. By supporting this technology, consumers are actively participating in a more ethical food system. This is not just about animal welfare; it's about supporting sustainable practices that align with modern values and environmental stewardship. The financial and environmental benefits, such as reduced resource use and the absence of the need for manual sorting of male chicks, make this technology a win-win for both producers and consumers.
“The import of eggs and of female chicks and poults from production systems in which there is routine culling should be made illegal.” AWC, 2023
The AWC's report does not provide a clear date as to when the ban on male chick culling in Great Britiain should happen. However, the above statement indicates a commitment to preventing loopholes which might otherwise allow the continued funding of this cruel practice.
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