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Unwanted Males Killed at Birth

Written by PETA | September 1, 2009

As a PETA blogger, I know that male chicks in the egg industry are simply discarded and killed—but knowing about it didn’t make watching it any easier.

This footage from an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals shows workers at an Iowa hatchery killing 150,000 newborn male chicks every single day.

Chicks born at hatcheries are sent off to slaughter the very day they take their first breath. The only lives these babies know is one in which they are sorted and handled like pieces of garbage. Workers grab them by their wings, toss them onto conveyor belts, and throw them down a chute to spend their final moments in a grinding machine—in which they are ground up while they are still alive.

All this is standard procedure, widely accepted at commercial hatcheries and within the bounds of animal welfare laws. The egg industry considers male chicks to be useless because they don’t lay eggs and can’t be raised profitably for meat. Their sisters are not exactly lucky to remain alive.

For anyone who thinks that eating eggs doesn’t kill animals, millions of male chicks each year are born in hatcheries and promptly thrown into the blades of giant garbage disposals.

Egg-free recipes, anyone?

Commenting is closed.
  • Glassoniongirl says:

    I see no reason to stop eating eggs but just find someone who can supply you with eggs without cruelty. I have a friend with a chicken farm and they care about their chickens and let them roam free range of course in a large pin so they dont wander too far. They raise their chickens and get the unfertilized eggs. They sell eggs to make money and I get my eggs from them. I know its cruelty free and Im helping to support a friend. I tend not to buy eggs from stores but still most of the human population does and therefore the cruelty will probably continue untill its revealed to the public through the media and even then itll take a while to stop.

  • Edward says:

    It really gets under my skin when people call humanity nothing but evil and should be eradicated. If you haven’t noticed you are human as well. Humanity is not perfect. We have terrorism we have death and we have people who get paid to grind up chicks. I’m sure that millions of people don’t want to see this happen but it does not help when there is just a bunch of slamming on the human race.

  • Debbie Jackson says:

    Am I being stupid why aren’t these chicks passed to the chicken industry to grow into chickens as food at least they would have a bit of a life and surely there would be money made by the hatchery instead of this I am shocked disturbed and not sure I can eat another egg.

  • jay says:

    Cagefree eggs still get their chicks from hatcheries so you’d still be supporting the male chicks being ground up alive or suffocated or gassed or slammed into metal plates pick your violence.

  • Carla* says:

    I am a proud Vegan Edward!! And no one I repeat NO one pushed their Vegan life style onto me!! It was for purely ethical reasons and I’m no hippie!! This video only makes me stronger!! Peace.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I miss my cousin’s chickens. She had to stop keeping them because of a neighbor who refused to keep his dog fenced. The dog kept getting into my cousin’s yard breaking into the chicken yard and killing the chickens. She can’t do anything about the neighbor because this is an area where people who can’t get along with anyone else move Norco California and this neighbor loves to cause trouble.

  • Canadian Guy says:

    How is this even possible in this day and age! How can anyone have such disrespect for life. How would those people working in that place feel if that at birth one of their kids was thrown in a grinder because it did not meet the standards… Places like that need to be shutdown the government needs to get involved in this horrible act.

  • Stephanie says:

    Cage free or free range eggs are NOT the answer. Those male chicks are still ground up too. You can’t have an egg industry without killing male chicks. This is because the type of chicken used for egg laying is a different type than meat chickens. The male chicks have no use for the industry and are therefore killed. No one would make this illegal because there is no alternative in large scale egg farming. You can NOT act morally superior for eating free range organic cage free eggs. Those chickens are abused just as much as the ones on conventional farms and they suffer tremendously. Plus they all eventually are murdered. There is NO such thing as “kind” killing. If you wouldn’t do something to a dog why do it to another sentient being like a chicken? You people who are still eating meat or eggs need to do some research. Read websites about veganism read animal rights books watch the documentary Earthlings it’s free on Google video. You cannot be a compassionate omnivore. You will still be causing suffering and death regardless of where you get your meat eggs or dairy from. “Happy meat” or “cage free eggs” are not cruelty free. Discover the truth. Do research. Hiding from the truth is only hurting yourself and the animals. You can be a healthy happy vegan. Vegan food is incredibly healthy and delicious. I have been a vegan for almost 3 years and I love everything that I eat I’ve become a great cook and I’m healthier than ever. Check out and

  • Tom says:

    To those that say Cagefree Freerange is the answer.. Unfortunately that is a misconception. While Cagefree or Freerange may treat the actual egg laying hens a little better debatable in most cases.. the male chicks are still an unnecessary part of that industry and are treated no better than the ones in this video.

  • Alicia says:

    I just read this on Fox news as well so at least it is making it into mainstream media. Hopefully MORE people will be P.O. about this. I turned vegetarian last year and slowly making the turn to vegan but this will get me there faster. I had eggs in the fridge and when I opened the door the images came flashing back from the video. This is just sick.

  • Walter R Gastiger says:

    Watching the Male Chick being grinding aliveHow would those people feelIf it was themthey should have a adoption program for those chicksnot ended up thier misery lives living in the plant.I used to raised chicks for petsthey are wonderful pets.

  • emma says:

    Wow i never knew that this was happening i knew about animal cruelty ie dog fighting slaughter housesgeneral abuse of home pets but i had no idea that it goes to this length since joining peta a few months ago my eyes have really been opened to the levels of cruelty in every animal situation i didnt know lab workers beat the primates i didnt know deer was getting their throats cut i didnt know chickens were being sexually abused and i certainly didnt know about this i am glad i joined peta because now i am more aware of what i eat and i have become veggie but on the other hand i am suffering regular nightmares about animals being beaten and killed and i do want to come to their rescue and make a change in laws now i know about this i will not eat another egg i hardly ate them anyway but id just like to say half heartedly thankyou peta for bringing this to light it is true when they say u learn something new every day. there are many videos on here i just carnt watch like the slaughter of the mother and baby one and the lab ones because of the bad dreams im suffering since watching previous ones but i can imagine whats going on so maybe if peta writes a little bit more about what the vids contain then i will have a stronger opinion on the matters without having to watch them

  • Danielle M. Short says:

    This is absolutely disgusting! That is why I have been a vegan for the past three years. Would these farmers do this to their useless sons that are just going to grow up and follow in the same dispicable footsteps?

  • Rick says:

    You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to be outraged at this practice. I am neither and feel loathing for those who see this as acceptable. I can appreciate those who go vegan and have family members who do but I do have to laugh at those committed meatless eaters still wearing leather shoesbelts and handbags etc..

  • Alec says:

    I eat eggs from a business in the UK called happy eggs where nimal welfare standards are very high. I’ve just sent them a letter asking where they get their chicks from and what happens to the males we’ll see…

  • Lauri says:

    Unfortunately being vegan isn’t going to help. The demand for chicken and eggs is too great worldwide. Instead of insisting on being vegan more people should write the your local legislature or start petitions. Nothing will ever get changed if some of us just change our diets it takes more than that. So to say “Go vegan” is great and all but it takes more on a large scale. I too am vegan but I’m active in signing petitions. I challege those that complain about it to make a difference other than what you eat and don’t eat.

  • Gina Spillane says:

    This is outrageous ! we live in the 21st century for God’s sake you dont have to be a vegetarian to be appalled by such cruelty it never ceases to amaze my the cruelty that goes hand in hand with the food industry all in the name of profit at the end of the day the consumer is to blame for demanding cheap food.

  • Gina says:

    This is horrendous! Gosh what the hell is wrong with some people? Ugh disgusting. Being VEGAN is the best thing than can happen to anyone not only for health but most importantly compassion for animals. SO The best I can say to others is go for it. If you don’t wanna be vegan fine. BUT don’t come crying to momma when you’re a walking fat sick limp noodle

  • Holly Eckert says:

    Please! Tell us WHO to contact in order to STOP this disgraceful method of killing these tiny helpless chicks. Whether one is a vegan or not has no bearing on the inhumanity of this situation. I feel as if our country has regressed. Thank you for any helpinsightadvice you can give me as a concerned citizen. Holly Eckert

  • Acuna says:

    cant the ASPCA do something about this?i know theyre just chickens but NO living organism should be treated in such a manner!

  • Hannah Germann says:

    This is just sick and wrong. These Chicks dont even get the chance to walk on the earth beneath their feet. They are killed because they cannot produce eggs? I dont know how a male feels about this situation becasue it is a chicken but I am a female and this makes me sick and makes me feel likeif i were a man that i would be killed because i cannot produce a baby. Think about that males. Chickens are like a human being they live eat and breath the same things we do. Us Vegans need to take a stand for what is right and we need to let these people know that Chickens have a life too. POWER OF A VEGAN

  • PERLA says:


  • Cassie says:

    I’m not going to be a Vega.But i think that is really wrong and they should be shut down for this..This is what people do to animals on the street and get in trouble for it so i think even if you do work in a factory you should still get in trouble for this and be shut down..I strongly think this.

  • Stephanie says:

    This is terrible it makes me literally sick. How sad I don’t understand how anyone can do this. Wow. I’d love to be alone with these jerks for 20 minutes.

  • Joanne says:

    This is really too sad. What can we do to expose this and stop it from happening?

  • Crystal says:

    thank god i’m a vegan. it’s disgusting that these lifeforms are able to do this to another living creature! this would surely be illegal if a human was the victim. I see no distinction there at all. I can just see God look down say “What have I done?” That’s what i’m thinking You will get justice you poor chicks.

  • Corey says:

    Absolutely speechless. The only word I can say is Vegan.. I give it all up. I’ve been a vegetarian for three years but this article has pushed me to finally give up eggs and cheese. We can’t make these horrible companies feel the pain of those poor chicks.. But we can certainly make them hurt in their wallets.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    More proof that the human race is unpardonably evil and irreparable. I loathe despise and abhor the reprobates who massacre chickens and baby chicks.

  • Walter Rivera says:

    that is so wrong. u know there is a hatchery here where i live in Puerto Rico. the company is called TORICO. and i got some friends that work there and i am going to see if i can get a tour of the place to see if this same thing is happening here

  • April says:

    I am vegan and yes I agree the Narrator does sound like he’s pushing the vegan lifestyle. But after watching that don’t you want to not eat eggs and chicken?

  • Jinx says:

    I’m veggie but not vegan…after this I am 1 step closer though.

  • jagger says:

    This is why I only eat free range eggs

  • Marg Durrance says:

    Whatever happened to capons?neutered roosters

  • Lisa says:

    It’s not about the style of narration watch it with the sound off if you find commonsense insulting to your obviously more highly evolved sense of right and wrong…. Watch the bloody images and if your priorities are still being hampered by the infringement of someone else’s sensibilities f off and treat yourself to a KFC.

  • Brandi Ohara says:

    people are so sick how could you do that for money I would kill my self if i had to hurt a animal how could anyone put a animal in a grinder sick people and the Gov. should make a stop to this for them letting this go on we can see they don’t care and that is the worst

  • Moriah says:

    Nicole 1. You can stick your presumably omnivoreism up your…but that said 2. If you are not interested in veganism why are you reading about the cruelties faced by chickens in the egg industry? Grinding chicks is not illegal primarily because consumers don’t care enough imo. THAT is why we need to squawk about vegan this and thatto let them no we do care and we won’t tolerate it.

  • sophie says:

    i couldnt watch much as i couldnt bare it! how awful in this day and age! how can the people who do it sleep at night? i totally disagree with u have to be a veggie to be a memeber of peta whoever wrote that! what crap!i live in rural england where i buy locally organic meat from farms i know they are raised with love and respect and i see no harm in that they are killed humanly and is natural.promoting respect to animal is key to stop this happening and education.

  • Kris says:

    There was a Jamie Oliver special on the Chicken and Egg industry. He had the audience sort male and female chicks. After they were sorted he had a man kill the males in a chamber that removed the air. I was shocked.

  • Tasha says:

    Sick and sad

  • alexa says:

    WTF?!?! NOT THE CHICKS!! That’s the saddest thing ever.

  • Surprised says:

    Two comments 1. You should stick your veganism up your …. but that said 2. isn’t grinding living creatures alive illegal? If it’s not it should be. So that’s what needs to be done instead of squawking about vegan this and that.

  • Nicole says:

    What can we do to stop this disgusting practice??? How is it legal to grind up baby chics in this day and age? GROSS!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Years ago I saw a film someone had made about being a black chick I don’t know whether it was male or female in a hatchery where they only wanted white hens. I watched this determined little thing struggle to keep up with his fellow victims on a conveyor belt where workers would pick him up and put him in a box off to the side he kept jumping out of the box and back onto the belt and I kept yelling “No! No! No!” as did all of my classmates. The poor baby eventually ended up in a box where all the refuse eggshells and other unwanted chicks were being crushed. Sadly I do not remember if he was picked out of the mess and saved or not what I do remember was the image of this little black chick struggling to the surface of the mess in the crusher again and again in his attempts to get out. I wish I remembered the name of this film so I could find it and share it. I think it was a student documentary.

  • tray says:

    Maybe becoming a vegan is not for you… But altleast by from cage free cruel free distributors . Dont let cruel companies profit.. There are other alternatives for purchase.

  • Edward says:

    Well if the Discovery Channel can show decapitated swordfish on “Swords” I’m sure they can TELL where the male chicks go or at least say that they can’t be used. And did you even hear the narrator of the video? “Chicks….Males…No Good…Grinder…Vegan diet.” A convincing video to me is one that gives the facts and nothing else. Not one pushing a hippie vegan lifestyle onto people.

  • Brian says:

    This is so wrong in so many ways. How can humanes be so mean.. We need to have mercy on these poor helpless animals. Wish besides being a vegan there is something i could do. We need laws to make this illegal if the public only knew. This author is spot on the females probably have it worse being stuffed in a crate where they cant move all for what? cheap eggs If i were born a chicken or a cow I would prefer to be slaughter so i would suffer a miserable life. Dairy cows and egg laying hens are the most hard worked animals alive. Better yet I wish we lived in a more compassionate world where we could be more compassionate.

  • ankita says:

    Nobody is imposing veganity on you. If you’re not vegetarian but still claim to be an animal lover maybe you shouldn’t be a peta member in the first place.

  • Amanda Sinor says:

    What an outrage! Of course the Discovery Channel isn’t going to show such murderous actions! No one sounds like they’re “pushing” anyone to be vegan. It’s called being aware of just how disgusting the egg industry really is.

  • AAG says:

    Horrible and disturbing!!!! Absolutely no mercy shown to these innocent adorable babies. Going VEGAN is a moral imperative!

  • Edward says:

    I once saw how a hatchery works on Discovery’s “How it’s Made.” They failed to mention what happens to the males. I also don’t appreciate the narrator try to push veganity on me.