Do you want to know everything about eggs without killing chicks and what happens to the male chicks? Then you've come to the right place! You've probably already heard that in the egg industry male chicken chicks are cruelly shredded or gassed immediately after birth because they do not lay eggs, do not produce enough meat and are therefore uneconomical.
Fortunately, this has been banned in Germany since the beginning of 2022. But where have the rescued brother cocks actually ended up since then? Are they raised in a species-appropriate manner and do they live happily ever after? Questions upon questions.
In this article, I would therefore like to give you everything you need to know about eggs without killing chicks. I also want to investigate whether the laying hens' offspring are really doing well - or whether, in the end, it's just us consumers who are happy and the animals continue to suffer. Let's go!
You can find a brief overview here in advance:
Background: What are eggs without killing chicks?
Around 40 million chicks were born in Germany every year. in Gas atmosphere with carbon dioxide or by cutting up the entire animal in a shredder.₁ As their lives were or are taken immediately after birth, they are often referred to as "day-old chicks". The fact that no animals die for eggsTherefore, there could never be any question of such a thing.
So-called eggs without killing chicks are therefore simply commercially available eggs. Chicken eggs that have not been produced by shredding or gassing chicks. The product packaging of the corresponding eggs is marked with different seals (e.g. "Hahn im Glück") so that consumers can recognize them more easily.
Alternatives: How are eggs possible without killing chicks?
The ban on chick killing has now come into force. However, the male chicks of the hens are of course still uneconomical from the industry's point of view. So what are the options for those responsible for producing eggs without killing chicks?
According to Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) hatcheries currently have the following alternatives to choose from:
- Sex determination
- Dual-purpose chickens
In the following, I would like to go into more detail about how exactly the industry wants to prevent chick shredding and the gassing of broiler chickens with these measures.
1. sex determination in the egg
With the help of modern technology (spectroscopic procedure/light test or endocrinological procedure/hormone test), it is possible to determine theDetermining the sex of chicken embryos in the hatching egg and abort the incubation of the male chicks. In Germany, this is possible by law up to the 13th day of incubation. After that, the embryos in the egg can no longer be made to feel pain.
Nowadays, the (uneconomical) brother taps can, for example, be produced using the techniques PLANTegg and the Seleggt specifically detected and removed before their birth are produced. Eggs without chick killing are therefore possible in principle. The discarded eggs can then be processed into animal feed.
2. breeding of dual-purpose chickens
The hatching of so-called dual-purpose chickens also represents an alternative to chick killing in the long term. These are bred chicken breeds, which lay fewer but still many eggs and put on much more meat.
Your balanced laying and fattening performance ultimately makes them profitable for both the egg and meat industries. The killing of brother chickens would therefore end automatically if only this chicken breed were selected.
3. rearing of the brother cocks
The rearing of brother cocks as an alternative to producing eggs without killing chicks is the Main reason ffor this article. Instead of gassing or killing them, the young roosters should now be allowed to grow up. That sounds almost too idyllic and beautiful to be true.
How and where are the male chicks reared? After all, rearing is Costly and space-intensive. In addition, the cock meat is an absolute Niche product. The animals hardly produce any meat or fat and there is basically not even a market for them in Germany. Farmers therefore have to significantly increase egg prices in order to cross-subsidize rearing. And this also makes it more difficult favorable imports from countries where chick killing is still permitted.
The ZDF is with the documentary "Ban on chick killing - where do all the male chicks end up?" went in search of clues and found out that a whole industry is developing out of the ban, the Bringing brother cocks to Poland en masse, where they are used in conventional Factory farming have to live close together with hardly any fish air and daylight.
The KAT certification (from the KAT Association, the industry association of the poultry sector), aims to guarantee better husbandry conditions and chick-killer-free supply chains, but even with this certification, 20 animals per square meter are still permitted. The rearing of male chicks is therefore not as romantic as we consumers are led to believe. But more on that in a moment.
Seal: How can you recognize supposed eggs without chick killing?
Before I come straight to my assessment, I would first like to tell you once again give you a brief overviewby which seals you can generally recognize the eggs in which chick killing has been avoided by one of the three methods mentioned.
The following Seals and initiatives should help you, for example, to identify the eggs more quickly when buying eggs without having to kill the chicks early:
- Brother Cock Initiative Germany
- Brother chick initiative
- Brother Egg Initiative
- Without killing chicks - respeggt.com
- Rooster in luck
- Pointed & Jack
- Jack of hearts
- Little brother & little sister
- Hen & Rooster
You should not blindly trust any of these seals. However, if you would like to support the raising of the brother cocks, the logo of the "Bruderhahn Initiative Germany (BID)" orientation. And those who prefer eggs whose production involves gender recognition and sorting out the male chicks will be happy with the logo "Without killing chicks - respeggt.com" probably on the safe side.
It is important to know that the The label "no chick killing" says nothing about the chosen method or the country of the laying hens. As a consumer, you can still keep an eye on the respective product seals for a little more security.
Assessment: Do the eggs without chick killing really make the lives of the brother cocks better?
In my opinion, none of the alternatives mentioned improve the lives of male chicks from laying hens. The Gender recognition prevents life, the Dual-purpose hens only make egg production more economical for the industry and the rearing of brother cocks even increases the suffering of the animals because it is still uneconomical and the young animals only live a few days longer under poor conditions.
The animals are not killed within the first 48 hours of their lives, but still have to die after a few weeks in the (cheapest possible) factory farming in an electric bath, so that meat can be made from them.
Until then, as the ZDF documentary shows, they live in cruel conditions. There is not enough straw on the floor of the stables, so that form lumps on their feet from feces. As a result, the animals are no longer able to walk properly, making inflammation and other forms of pain increasingly likely.
Even if organic farming is not always the yellow of the egg - there is simply no such thing as organic farming when it comes to rearing broiler chickens. Instead, the Young cocks are kept as cheaply as possiblesince, to be honest, it is more of a Marketing measure than the selfless rescue of baby chicks.
Ban on chick killing is circumvented because it does not apply throughout the EU
Eggs without chick killing suggest to consumers that chick shredding no longer happens. But this assumption is not true. Chick killing is still permitted in many of Germany's neighboring countries, as an internationally uniform regulation is lacking.
German farms therefore have the opportunity to simply circumvent the chick killing banFor example, by buying female chicks from the Netherlands and having their brothers killed there. And the female chicks are then marketed here as laying hens, which then lay eggs in German barns.
Good to know: As the rearing of male chicks in countries such as Poland is much cheaper for farmers, the environmental impact of even more animal transportation is increasing. The additional feed and energy requirements also have a negative impact on the climate. Eggs without chick culling are therefore more animal-friendly in their idea, but definitely not more environmentally friendly.
The killing of chicks can only be ruled out by a plant-based diet
Consumers have their good reasons in favor of preferring eggs without killing chicks. They want to prevent innocent little animals from being killed for personal egg consumption. However, the preference for eggs with appropriate labels unfortunately does not exclude the killing of chicks.
On the one hand, because the chick killing ban for the industry Loopholessuch as imports from countries without the ban. Secondly, because eggs are not just eggs, but also are sold as an ingredient in countless foods where the origin of the eggs does not have to be labeled.
For the animal, the eggs basically change very little without killing the chicks. In the end, only many deceived consumers are happy in addition to the profiting industry, who were made to have a better conscience.
At the end of the day, the death of the little brother roosters can only be Abstain from foods with eggs, respectively by the vegan lifestylecompletely.
Eggs without chick killing are only for a clear conscience
The logos, labels and slogans on egg packaging are intended to give us consumers the reassuring feeling that the German eggs on the breakfast table or at the sustainable easter brunch no cute chicks are shredded and gassed.
There is certainly a good intention behind the preference for eggs without chick killing for the benefit of the animals. And sexing is certainly the most animal-friendly alternative among the measures to avoid killing chicks. However, the rearing of brother chickens in particular has given rise to a new branch of the egg and meat industry, which is fueling further problems and increasing the Chicks only live a few days longer lets.
"All animals know it, except man, that the highest goal of life is joy."Samuel Butler (more at Animal welfare quotes)
However, there is no right way to do the wrong thing. Ultimately, all chickens are slaughtered as soon as they are uneconomical - and at an extremely early stage in relation to their natural life expectancy. Moreover, all chickens - including adults - are sentient beings, just like you and me. Exploiting them cannot be justified by taste, tradition, habit or convenience - and This is why vegans completely avoid eating eggs.
Anyone who really wants to protect the chicks and their parents therefore climbs on Vegetable egg alternatives and lives vegan. Whether as a binding agent, for thickening or to imitate the taste - Vegetable starch, apple sauce, kala namak salt (great for vegan scrambled eggs) and many other plant-based foods can mimic the benefits of eggs.
I very much hope that I have been able to help you with this article about buying eggs without killing chicks. Do you have any questions, suggestions or would you like to share your opinion on this topic? Then I look forward to your comment.
PS: Those who only use Eating eggs from your own chickenscan avoid the killing of chicks. However, this is not suitable for the masses and is also not realistic to implement. I explain the other reasons why vegans avoid backyard eggs in more detail in the linked blog post.
₁ Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL): Ban on chick killing (as of 24.04.2023), available at https://www.bmel.de/DE/themen/tiere/tierschutz/tierwohl-forschung-in-ovo.html. [28.07.2023].