Germany bans killing chick embryos

The German legislature have recently passed a law forbidding the killing of six-day old chick embryos since they are “sensitive to pain,” as well as the killing chicks because of their sex.

In 2020, German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner initiated a bill banning the killing of male chicks. This would affect 45 million male chicks that are killed yearly in German laying hen farming, since male chicks cannot lay eggs or produce enough meat quickly enough to be fattened and slaughtered.

German legislators have decided that, beginning in 2022, killing male chicks will be forbidden since chick embryos are “sensitive to pain from the seventh day.” Therefore, farms will be required to use methods to determine the sex of the chicks before they hatch so they can be removed from the brood.

Furthermore, beginning in 2024, methods will need to be used to determine the sex of the chick embryo at an even earlier age so that they can be eliminated while in a less developed stage, thereby ensuring that the chick embryos do not feel any pain. Klöckner said that with the approval of this law, “We are pioneers worldwide.”

The German Animal Welfare Association expressed joy at this suggestion, but criticized that this two-stage ban will not actually prohibit the killing of pain-sensitive chick embryos until 2024.