Chickens
Baby chickens in a file photo. Australian animal activists have demanded ban on mass killing of baby male chickensReuters

Animal rights activists in Australia have demanded ban on slaughter of baby male chickens after a video released by Animal Liberation and Aussie Farms on Tuesday (19 July) showed thousands of day-old baby chickens being pushed into a giant meat grinder via a conveyor belt. According to a 9NEWS report, the reason behind the mass slaughter of male chickens is that they cannot reproduce and are commercially "useless".

Chris Felforce, Aussie Farms director, said, "We've known about this process for a long time, but it's been very highly guarded by the industry; nobody's been able to capture it here in Australia until now."

However, the practice known as "quick maceration", an acceptable form of humane destruction of chicks in Australia, is legally valid.

According to Australia's model code of practice for the welfare of animals domestic poultry, culled or surplus hatchlings awaiting disposal must be treated as humanely as those intended for retention or sale. It also says that they must be destroyed humanely by a recommended method such as carbon dioxide gassing or quick maceration and thoroughly inspected to ensure that all are dead.

Of late, other countries have also started working towards the safety of chickens. Reportedly, Germany is set to introduce a technology by the end of 2016 that will help identify the sex of chicken embryos before they are hatched. Meanwhile, in the US, chicks cannot not be killed within four years.

Animal Liberation NSW