The Humane League convinces America’s largest representative of egg producers to take a historic stance on ending the practice of shredding newborn male chicks
June 09, 2016

Following exclusive conversations with The Humane League, United Egg Producers announced today that it will eliminate the culling of male chicks at egg laying hen hatcheries by 2020, replacing the practice with in-ovo egg sexing technology. United Egg Producers represents 95% of all eggs produced in the country, making today's statement historic in its firm stance against the slaughter of newborn male chicks, which is currently standard practice at nearly every egg hatchery in the country.

Male chicks are useless to the egg industry, so industry disposes of these newborns in the most brutal of ways. While still alive and just hours old - the babies are thrown into a high-speed industrial grinder, have their spinal cords severed or are suffocated. Hundreds of millions of newborn male chicks are killed this way in the United States each year.

To address this practice of grinding and suffocating day-old chicks, the embryo-sexing technology will enable the termination of all male-identified eggs from the hatchery, preventing them from ever being hatched and culled. This process will also spare tens of thousands of hens from suffering a lifetime on factory farms as the male-identified eggs will be used for an alternative supply, like vaccinations or pet food, reducing demand on the current flock of egg laying hens. The Humane League has an agreement with United Egg Producers to touch base periodically to understand the status of the availability and adoption of this new technology.

United Egg Producer's decision to end its support of shredding and suffocating baby male chicks is historic, as it will virtually eliminate this practice in the American egg industry. Though this is not an issue that many people are aware of, The Humane League is proud to have played such a pivotal role in doing away with this barbaric convention and to help pave the way to a more humane future. It is clear that chick culling will soon be a thing of the past in the United States.

After waging a successful war on cages by securing commitments to eliminate cages from the supply chains of over 150 companies, including Walmart, Kroger, Sodexo, ConAgra and Denny's, The Humane League approached United Egg Producers earlier this year with a request to work on eliminating the practice of chick culling. Through exclusive conversations and strategizing, The Humane League and United Egg Producers determined a feasible timeline for the egg producers the cooperative represents to implement the new embryo-sexing technology as it becomes available for commercial use. United Egg Producer's decision to support the elimination of newborn male chick culling is a historic tipping point and will prevent the suffering of hundreds of millions of animals each year.