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Victory: Ban on The Killing of Male Chicks in Italy Approved!

After two years of intense work by Animal Equality, the Italian Government approved a ban on the culling of male chicks, which will become effective in 2026.

On the 2nd of August, the Italian Chamber of Deputies definitively approved an end to the slaughter of male chicks – a law that will come into play by late 2026 – marking a historic milestone in animal welfare legislation in Italy. 

The news comes after the approval of the amendment presented by Animal Equality Italy in June in the Senate and in December 2021 in the Chamber of Deputies. The successfully approved amendment means that, by the end of 2026, a ban will formally be in place to end the selective culling of male chicks who are considered a byproduct of the egg industry. 

Our Work To Stop The Slaughter of Male Chicks In Italy

This historic and fundamental step in Italy for the protection of animals bred for human consumption comes after two years of campaigning by Animal Equality Italy. 

In 2020, Animal Equality Italy launched a petition – now signed by over 100,000 individuals – urging the Government, as well as the egg industry, to put an end to this terrible massacre. The petition was released alongside exclusive images showing the cruelty of chick slaughter inside hatcheries.  

Soon after the petition was launched, the trade association of egg producers, Assoavi, declared itself in favour of the introduction of in-ovo sexing technologies. These technologies are able to prevent the slaughter of male chicks, by identifying the sex of the chick before hatching. 

Male chicks are unable to produce eggs and therefore are considered useless by the egg industry. And because they are a different species from the chickens bred and killed in the meat industry, they cannot be exploited by the industry for their flesh either. For this reason, every year, between 25 and 40 million male chicks are killed in Italy. 

several male chicks on a conveyor belt about to be slaughtered by maceration

The proposal to ban male chick culling was first presented in December 2021 and finally approved on Wednesday 3rd August in the Chamber of Deputies. 

This is very important news for animals in Italy and is truly historic. We are very happy that Parliament has finally approved this amendment that regulates one of the most controversial aspects of the egg production industry. Animals are sentient beings that can no longer just be considered industrial waste. The selective killing of male chicks that takes place every day will no longer be considered the norm, and institutions must now commit to this fundamental path for the progress of our country and animals, supporting and accelerating the progressive implementation of technologies capable of putting an end to this systematic cruel slaughter.

Alice Trombetta, Executive Director, Animal Equality Italy

Male chicks are typically slaughtered within the first 24 hours after birth by maceration (shredding/grinding) or suffocation, without the use of stunning techniques. From 2026 this cruelty will no longer be possible in Italy.

This is a historic milestone that was made possible thanks to the commitment of Animal Equality’s kind supporters. Together, we have achieved once again a critical change that will impact the lives of millions of animals. And this is only the beginning.

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