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Animal Equality Leads in Effort to Ban Chick-Culling in Brazil

May 6, 2021

This week, Animal Equality, along with Animal Protection and Defense Forum and Sinergia Animal, presented a bill to ban the culling of male chicks in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo is Brazil’s largest egg producer, and if approved, the new law would be able to influence changes in other states and at the Federal level.

AN ABUSIVE INDUSTRY: Male chicks are considered useless by the egg industry because they are not considered profitable—they do not produce eggs and are not suitable for meat production. Common means of culling include electrocution, smothering inside plastic bags, and horrifically, the baby chicks are thrown alive into large shredders and ground-up alive. Each of these methods is abusive, unnecessary, and fraught with cruelty. In the hatcheries of the State of São Paulo alone, more than 25 million male chicks are slaughtered every year.

AN HISTORIC BILL: The proposed legislation, called PL 256, prohibits crushing, electrocution, suffocation, or other similar animal disposal methods. If approved—Animal Equality and the organizations that have proposed the bill are working with the Deputy Chamber of the State of Sao Paulo to have it passed before the end of 2022—millions of chicks would be spared a brutal and pointless death. The bill states that:

  • Article 1 – It is prohibited within the scope of the State of São Paulo to discard newly hatched male chicks by means of crushing, electrocution, suffocation, or other similar methods.
  • Article 2- The hatcheries and genetic companies that commercially produce chickens will have a period of 1 year to adapt, as soon as it is commercially available, in ovo sexing technology, and with its use, have up to 6 days dispose of the eggs after incubation.
  • Article 3 – The disposal of birds at any stage of their development will only be allowed for in response to public health risks, justified and approved by a veterinarian and state health authority.
  • It also states that failure to comply with the law would result in fines and in the event of repeat offenses, the loss of the operating licenses.

IN-OVO SEXING TECHNOLOGY: Fortunately, technology exists that can end the egg industry’s most abhorrent practices. In-ovo sexing can be used to detect the sex of chicks in their embryonic state, allowing producers to prevent the development and subsequent death of male chicks. These systems use intelligent trays or laser systems to recognize the sex of the egg’s embryo, allowing male or unfertilized eggs to be discarded. However, this technology is not yet available in Brazil, but many companies in the sector have already shown interest in utilizing it. 

WHAT WE’RE SAYING: “We are going to ask the Ministry of Agriculture to speed up the process of importing and regulating in-ovo sexing technologies so that they can be quickly assimilated by the national industry.” – Carla Lettieri, Executive Director of Animal Equality Brazil. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: As our investigations have shown, farmed animals used for food are exploited and made to suffer every single day. The egg industry is particularly abusive, with the horrible practice of chick-culling being just one example of its callous treatment of animals. If you feel strongly about the treatment of baby chicks, the best thing you can do is leave eggs off your plate. There is no such thing as humanely mass-produced eggs, no matter what the labels say. Male chick culling happens in nearly 100% of U.S. egg production supply chains. You can make a huge difference for abused chicks by trying egg alternatives. Animal Equality is also working to ban the practice of chick-culling in the U.S., and we can use your help. Please visit the link below to sign our petition calling for an end to this brutal practice. Together, we can change the world for farmed animals!

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