Secret Film Of Hy-Line Hatchery Shows "Inappropriate Action" Of Workers

If you get easily upset at animal welfare stories, skip this post or come back to it later when you’ve mentally prepared yourself. It’s sort of messed up. On the other hand, haven’t you always wondered how hatcheries can produce only female chickens?

The Associated Press says an animal rights group secretly filmed employees at the Hy-Line North America hatchery in Spencer, Iowa, this past May and June. The most sensational parts of the video shows male chicks being thrown alive into a grinder, as they aren’t necessary for Hy-Line’s egg business. There are a couple of other shots described in the AP article that show discarded male chicks dying from falls or scaldings.

Unlike the forklift-to-the-cow actions of last year, though, grinding up male chicks is an accepted and well-known industry practice:

The United Egg Producers, a trade group for U.S. egg farmers, confirmed that figure and the practice behind it.

“There is, unfortunately, no way to breed eggs that only produce female hens,” said the group’s spokesman, Mitch Head. “If someone has a need for 200 million male chicks, we’re happy to provide them to anyone who wants them. But we can find no market, no need.”

Using a grinder, Head said, “is the most instantaneous way to euthanize chicks.”

Hy-Line, however, has said that the actions of the workers in the video with respect to the chicks left to die on the floor were “a violation of our animal welfare policies,” and that they are investigating.

“Video shows Iowa chicks ground up; egg producers say it is best practice” [Des Moines Register via Towleroad]
(Photo: JOE M500)