Killing of day-old male chicks

23 January 2014        


Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE)

In the EU, 40 million day-old male chicks are killed each year in Germany alone. A certain proportion of the animals are used as animal feed, while the remainder are disposed of. An agricultural/economic model that systemically accepts the killing of millions of animals without good reason is not compatible with the protection of animals.

1. How is the EU supporting/conducting the phasing out of this production model?

2. How is the Commission encouraging the investigation of alternatives, e.g. the dual‐purpose chicken for breeding, or the determination of the gender from the egg?

3. What scientific studies relating to this and being conducted in the Member States is the Commission aware of?


27 February 2014


Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

The EU Commission is currently not involved in any projects to phase out the killing of day-old male chicks or to assess the feasibility of alternatives. Similarly no EU funding is available in this area.

In recent years some Member States (e.g. the Netherlands, Germany) have conducted research into alternatives such as differentiating male and female chicken embryos during early stages of development or the keeping of combination chickens for both meat and egg production. We are also aware that one German Bundesland has adopted a ban of the practice which will come into force on 1 January 2015.