Poultry: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st July 2016.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to ban the culling of chicks in the poultry industry.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The alternatives to culling chicks at one-day old are currently being explored. Research is well underway at the University of Leipzig in Germany, who are developing a new method for in-ovo gender identification, so that eggs identified as male can be sorted and used for purposes other than hatching. I also raised this issue at the G7 in Japan in April, and gave my support to the development of this new technology. We will look carefully at the results of this work and how it can be applied.

In the UK, all four of the laying hen hatcheries use argon and CO2 gas techniques as a method of euthanising chicks and not maceration.

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