A GERMAN court is set to decide whether culling male chicks is in violation of the country’s Animal Welfare Act.

On Thursday 16 May the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig will hear the case, which will centre on whether there is a “rational reason” to cull chicks.

Poultry producers will argue that it is uneconomical to rear the chicks, an assertion that previous, similar cases, have agreed with.

Culling male chicks is a highly charged subject in Germany.

Animal rights activists have for many years pushed for a ban, with a recent Peta petition signed by 92,000 people calling for an end to the practice regardless of any economic loss farmers may face.

In Early May agriculture minister Julia Klöckner said in an interview she expected technology to be in place by next year that would allow a ban, though many feel this is too ambitious.

Late last year the world’s first “no-kill” eggs became available to consumers in Germany.

The retailer Rewe Group introduced the line to its own-brand eggs, which use technology to determine the sex of set eggs at nine days.  

A second business, Agri Advanced Technologies, which is part of EW Group, is developing a method that can detect the sex of an egg as early as four days, using spectroscopy.