Crushing of male chicks: the egg sector “ready” for the entry into force of the ban

There will be no more crushed male chicks in France from January 1, 2023. The laying hen and egg sector “will be ready” for the entry into force of the ban, assured this Wednesday the interprofession of the egg (CNPO) during a conference. Like Germany before it, France, European champion in egg production, has required its hatcheries to equip themselves with ovosexing machines before December 31, 2022 in order to ban the grinding of males – a deadline initially scheduled for the end of 2021. Ovosexing makes it possible to determine the sex of the embryos in the egg during the first 14 days, in order to eliminate the males before they hatch.

The implementing decree was finally published, with delay, in February 2022. The sector had initially expressed concern that the adaptation period would not be sufficient. It will finally be “ready”, and will put its equipment into service “from January 1st”, at the cost of massive investments, indicated the president of the CNPO, Yves-Marie Beaudet.

This “major development” should cost him 50 million euros per year, he estimated. Each year, 300 million male chicks are killed in the European Union, including 50 million on French territory alone, because they are unable to lay the eggs that will end up on our plates. The CNPO pleads to extend this ban on grinding on a European scale, “essential to avoid distortions of competition”.

Alert on the ravages of avian flu

European leader with 15.7 billion eggs from its henhouses in 2021, France is expected to lose 8% of its production in 2022 due to the ravages of avian flu, which led to the slaughter of around 21 million poultry. The interprofession estimates that 4.5 million laying hens and pullets – which are not yet of laying age – have been killed in France since the start of this episode, and that “production can only fully resume in beginning of the year 2023”.

It also warns of rising energy prices, which affect all links in egg production through to packaging. “We expect the worst for the end of the year, we even fear line stoppages (production) if the costs are too high” for processing manufacturers, such as those in pastry, warns Yves-Marie Beaudet.

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