In the current practice, male chicks of layer breeds are killed after hatch. Approximately 45 million male chicks are killed annually in The Netherlands. This symposium addressed a number of alternatives for this practice.
This was the conclusion of a symposium organised by Wageningen-UR on Monday, September 8th. The symposium was attended by 40 participants from the poultry breeding and hatchery sector, research organisations, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and NVWA. The current status and outcome of various research projects on alternatives for killing day-old chicks, and the societal and ethical implications thereof, were presented and discussed. The upcoming legislation on killing day-old chicks in a number of German states may give even more impetus to efforts to find alternatives. Sexing of eggs before incubation would be most ideal, as no developed embryo is killed in that way. No ready method is available, however, although the obtained results suggest there may be more possibilities. Sexing during incubation, e.g. on day 9 or 10, is possible, but may be difficult or expensive to implement in practice.
It was shown that hens can be treated to lay fewer male eggs. However, these treatments were intended for research purposes and cannot be applied in practise. Methods that make use of genetic modification are currently not investigated because of insufficient public support. Ethical considerations try to weigh arguments such as intrinsic value, utilization, length of life, and ecological footprint. Solving one problem gives rise to new dilemma's.
|13:30 - 14:00||Arrival and coffee|
|14:00 - 14:10||Simon Vink, Wageningen UR concernstaf: Opening and scope of this afternoon|
|14:10 - 14:25||Henri Woelders, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, ABGC: Overview of research on potential alternatives for killing of day-old chiks at Wageningen UR|
|14:25 - 15:00||Vivian Goerlich-Jansson, Universität Bielefeld and Ton Groothuis, University of Groningen, Biology of avian sex ratio bias|
|15:05 - 15:15||Break|
|15:20 - 15:40||Wouter Bruins (In Ovo BV, Leiden): State of the art of sexing incubated eggs|
|15:40 - 16:00||Mariëlle Bruijnis. Wageningen University, Adaption Physiology, Ethics in Life Sciences: Ethical and societal aspects of alternatives for killing day-old chiks|
|16:00||Discussion and drinks|