United Egg Producers (UEP), an industry group representing the interests of egg farmers throughout the United States, says it will seek to eliminate the culling of male chicks. Because male chicks cannot produce eggs—and other breeds are used to produce meat chickens—males of the egg-producing breeds have no economic value. As a result, hundreds of millions of newborn male chicks are routinely killed using grotesque methods, such as maceration using a high-speed grinder.
Currently, there is no practical way to determine a chick’s sex prior to hatching, leaving hatcheries to sort chicks after birth. Research is currently underway to find a method of determining sex before a chicken has hatched, which would allow producers to ensure only female chicks are born. UEP says it will eliminate male chick culling by 2020, or “as soon as it is … economically feasible.”