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Italian Senate Approves Ending the Killing of Male Chicks

A historic animal protection initiative promoted by Animal Equality was approved by the Italian Senate to end the unnecessary killing of male chicks by the end of 2026.
July 1, 2022
baby chicken baby chicken

A historic animal protection initiative promoted by Animal Equality was approved by the Italian Senate to end the unnecessary killing of male chicks by the end of 2026. It now awaits final confirmation in the Chamber. This victory comes two years after Animal Equality launched a campaign to stop the massacre of male chicks in the egg industry in Italy – receiving over 100,000 petition signatures in support.

Animal Equality launched a similar campaign in the United States in March 2021 in addition to releasing undercover footage inside a hatchery of one of the largest chicken producers in the U.S. – Foster Farms. Foster Farms supplies chicken products to Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Target and Publix grocery stores, as well as the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

On June 6, 2022, Animal Equality filed a lawsuit against Foster Farms for the findings of the crushing, downing and mutilation of chicks. The lawsuit is ongoing. These findings are just one of ten investigations conducted by Animal Equality that has documented the killing of male chicks in the egg industry across five countries – the United States, Mexico, India, Italy, and Spain. 

The undercover footage captured during these investigations has shown how male chicks are killed within 24 hours of birth because they cannot lay eggs and are not one of the fast-growing chicken breeds used for meat. The most common method used for killing the animals is a “grinder” that shreds them alive. In facilities where shredding is not allowed, chicks may still be burned, crushed, drowned, or electrocuted as undercover research has shown.

chicks falling of conveyer belt

In the United States, around 260 million male chicks are killed this way each year, which equates to roughly 30,000 chicks every hour. While Animal Equality continues to work tirelessly to end this cruel factory farming practice in the United States, the organization’s strategic efforts and international investigations have resulted in the Italian victory to protect 25 to 40 million male chicks every year:

This initiative is a momentous step forward in putting an end to the killing of male chicks worldwide. After ten chicken hatchery investigations across five countries, there is no denying that baby chicks are treated like trash by the egg industry. It cannot continue, and Animal Equality will continue our work in the United States to end this massacre as well. For this moment, we celebrate the millions of animal lives that will be saved thanks to this historic initiative in Italy,

Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality

Animal Equality has been waiting for this moment for months – since the amendment was submitted in December and was approved by the House of Representatives several days later. The Senate’s approval means that, subject to final approval in the Chamber of Deputies, by 2026, the Italian government will have to introduce measures to ban the systematic killing of male chicks and find alternatives to its current practices.

How You Can Help: Billions of birds face death on the day they are born simply because their lives are not profitable. You can do your part to end this suffering by keeping them off of your plates. You can also lend your voice to baby birds by signing our U.S. petition to end the massacre of male chicks:


Read the petition

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