Italy to Ban Male Chick Culling in the Egg Industry

Image by SanduStefan from Pixabay

The Italian Government has approved an amendment to law which will introduce a ban on male chick culling in the egg industry. If only Canada would follow suit!

Following Animal Equality’s campaigning and lobbying work, a proposal to introduce a ban on the killing of male chicks in the egg industry has been approved by the Italian Parliament. This historic victory for animals will end the cruel practice of male chick culling by 2026, stopping the slaughter of up to 40 million male chicks every year in Italy.

Thanks to an amendment which was voted on this morning, the Italian Government will introduce specific measures to ban the systematic killing of male chicks. The Italian Senate will soon be called to vote to definitively confirm the ban.

Today the Parliament has made a choice of responsibility and respect towards animals. The selective killing of male chicks which takes place every day in the egg industry can no longer be considered normal and today the Parliament has chosen to support our proposal.

Alice Trombetta, Executive Director of Animal Equality Italy

Why are male chicks killed in the egg industry?

The egg industry breeds chickens in order to use them to produce eggs for human consumption. As only female chickens lay eggs, the industry considers males nothing more than a waste product. Millions of male chicks are killed every year, simply because they don’t lay eggs.

This happens all over the world, including in the UK.

Every year in Italy, between 25 and 40 million male chicks are killed within their first 24 hours of life. They are gassed or ground up alive, without being stunned.

What is in-ovo sexing technology?

New technology called ‘in-ovo sexing’ can be used to detect the sex of embryos (an early developmental stage of animals) in eggs. This can be used to stop the development of chicken eggs containing male embryos. Development is stopped at an early stage and the embryos are not able to feel pain at this time.

If this technology is adopted by the egg industry, millions of male chicks would no longer be born and then slaughtered just hours after hatching.

Animal Equality’s campaign against male chick culling

Animal Equality has been working to implement in-ovo sexing technology in the Italian egg industry since July 2020 and to date, over 100,000 people have added their names to our petition calling for male chick culling to be banned. We have campaigned intensely over the last 18 months, lobbying the Government, raising awareness with companies, and more.

In December 2020 – following extensive dialogue with Animal Equality Italy – Assoavi, Italy’s largest egg industry trade association, committed to facilitating the introduction of in-ovo sexing technology in the country.

Thanks to this, five million chicks a year will already be saved as of 2022, even before the new amendment to the law goes into effect.

Animal Equality’s work was so important in bringing about this new amendment to the law that our efforts were mentioned in the amendment itself and in a speech today in the Italian Parliament.


Italy’s ban on male chick culling is a historic achievement and it shows the incredible change we can make when we stand together and fight for animals’ rights. Join us and be a part of this change.


From Animal Equality, https://animalequality.org.uk/news/italy-to-ban-male-chick-culling-in-the-egg-industry/