France has announced that the practice shown here of crushing male baby chicks to death in shredders is to be banned but the move – despite being widely reported – has been labelled as “hot air.”
The French Minister of Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, says the practice of crushing male chicks to death will be phased out between now and 2021.
But animal rights activists note that no legislation has even been announced to back up the claims which come in advance of key municipal elections.
WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DISTRESSING CONTENT
The minister held a conference on Tuesday morning and said that “By the end of 2021, nothing will be the same as before.”
Under the current system male baby chicks are currently systematically crushed to death in shredders because it is not economically viable to feed them.
The move – which will also include a ban on castrating pigs without anaesthetics – comes after female ducklings at a foie gras farm in the Dordogne department of France were filmed being thrown in the bin alive where they would suffocate to death, as well as stunned ducks waking up while being killed after being force-fed in tiny cages.
The footage was filmed at the Domaine de la Peyrouse foie gras production facility in Coulounieix-Chamiers, on the outskirts of Perigueux, the capital of the Dordogne department in the south-western Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
The footage made international headlines and sparked an investigation from the authorities, who told the farm to bring itself ‘up to standards’.
This meant purchasing one of these shredding machines, the very machines the government now says it plans to ban.
Many are said to be sceptical about Mr Guillaume’s announcement.
Animal rights organisation L214 issued a press statement yesterday (Tuesday, 28th January) slamming the Minister of Agriculture’s announcement, saying: “The concerns of the French around the suffering of animals seemed (finally) to have found an audience with the executive: the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Didier Guillaume, had indeed been promising “great measures” for several months.
“No one was under any illusions about the probability of revolutionary announcements, but the measures announced Tuesday, 28th January 2020 (ban on the raw crushing of chicks and the live castration of piglets, supervision of the transport of live animals, labelling, animal welfare reference centre) are certainly not up to the societal expectations in terms of “animal welfare”.
“A renunciation, dictated by lobby pressure, which ultimately led the government to carry out a simple communication operation in the run-up to the municipal elections.”
For Brigitte Gothiere, co-founder of L214: “Even if the Minister may have seemed to have taken the measure of expectations, nothing very new appears in these announcements, his response is disappointing. It does not tackle basic problems, in particular the intensive agricultural model and slaughter conditions. A situation that will continue as long as the conditions of breeding and slaughter remain within the perimeter of the Ministry of Agriculture.”
L214 press officer Barbara Boyer told Central European News (CEN): “The announcement is just hot air. No legislation has been announced!”
She added: “The effective prohibition of this practice would be a step forward, but we remain vigilant because it is only an announcement: for the time being, the Minister does not give any details on the implementation schedule or on its inclusion in regulations.”
The French have reportedly committed to the ban in partnership with Germany, while the Swiss have already put in place a crushing ban as of 1st January this year.
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