Unilever takes stance on culling day-old male chicks
Another global food operator, Unilever, has made a commitment within its American business to seek alternatives to the culling of day-old male chicks.
A spokesman said the focus would be on ending the maceration of live birds – a practice that has been replaced by gassing in the UK.
The company, which owns Hellman's as well as ice-cream brands Wall's and Ben & Jerry's, said in a statement it was "aware of the concerns raised about global egg industry standards by which breeders of egg-laying hens eliminate male chicks".
Unilever said although it was standard practice "among suppliers to the broad egg farming industry and all types of egg products, and although Unilever uses only a very small percentage of eggs produced in the market, we take these concerns seriously".
It added the business would take an "active" stance by funding research and the implementation of alternative technology, such as in-ovo sexing, which allows the sex of chicks to be identified before hatching.
"As we are arranging a multi-stakeholder dialogue aiming at tangible steps to address this important issue, we expect more industry players across the value chain to advocate for fully commercial alternative methods."
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