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Unilever pledges solution to killing male chicks

News Section Icon Published 03/09/2014

Unilever has today committed to searching for humane alternatives to the industry-wide practice of killing male chicks in the egg industry.

In most commercial egg production systems male chicks are dispatched shortly after hatching, commonly by gassing or maceration, as they are deemed unfit for meat and of no use to the egg industry.

In a statement released today, Unilever has pledged funding support for technologies that would “eliminate the culling of male chicks in the industry” through being able to determine the sex of chicks before they hatch (in-ovo gender identification).

The company, which purchases more than 350 million eggs every year in the USA alone, is also looking at ways to replace eggs altogether as an ingredient in some of its products.

Unilever’s decision could save over a million male chicks every year from the stressful process of manual sexing and killing.

Along with Farm ForwardThe Humane League, and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Compassion has been able to work with Unilever on developing this new commitment. We look forward to lending them our full support in bringing it to fruition, and continuing our long-standing relationship with them.

Unilever has already made commitments to the welfare of laying hens by working to buy eggs from only cage-free systems. In 2008, the company received a Good Egg Award from Compassion for its commitment to source only cage-free eggs for all of its dressings sold in Western Europe, including its leading brands Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé. Click here to find out more.

Unilever has made a further commitment to move to 100% cage-free eggs on all of its products, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Hellmann’s, Amora and Calvé mayonnaises globally, and this commitment is already taking shape.

In 2012, Unilever was recognised more widely by Compassion with a European Leader Award for the positive impact it is having on farm animal welfare by making commitments across species and geographies and for demonstrating continuous improvement.

Unilever’s pledge to address the killing of male chicks is the first step in an exciting journey to address an industry-wide issue. It represents the type of corporate leadership which is much needed and very welcome. Compassion looks forward to continuing to work with Unilever to find scalable solutions to this and other animal welfare issues.


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