30 November 2020

Phasing-out chick culling

We take a critical view of the requirement in the draft law to undertake testing before the seventh day of incubation. This will come into force on 31 December 2023. None of the commercially viable technologies have this capability at present. There is currently no evidence to suggest that further developments to the endocrinological process will enable sexing prior to the seventh day of incubation. A ban such as this will effectively mean an end to the endocrinological process, as the lack of legal clarity will stop urgently required investments being made into developing the approach. At worst, it may lead to the import of day-old chicks from the rest of Europe, thus merely relocating the practice of culling from Germany to elsewhere. This not only runs counter to the notion of animal welfare but would also be detrimental to the German agricultural sector.

At the REWE Group, we are long-standing advocates of schemes to significantly im-prove the welfare of animals in our egg and poultry supply chains. Following the launch of ‘Spitz & Bube’ at REWE in 2016 and ‘Herzbube’ at Penny in 2017, we are now able to sell products promoting the rearing of male chicks. Moreover, we have driven innovation in this sector. We brought the endocrinological gender identification process to the market and made it available to all our competitors through our collaboration with the company RESPEGGT and the University of Leipzig.