Footage shows chick 'destruction'
Campaigners have released undercover footage of a "conveyor belt to death" for millions of male baby chicks killed as part of the egg production industry.
Vegetarian organisation Viva! said some 30 million to 40 million male chicks were killed each year by gassing or being thrown into electric mincers shortly after they hatch because they are the wrong sex to lay eggs.
The covert footage captured at two English hatcheries shows the chicks on conveyor belts, with the males being sorted from the females which go on to become laying hens.
The males are either transported into a gassing machine or go into a mincing machine, the footage shows.
Viva! wants people to stop buying eggs, claiming that while the welfare of the laying hens varies greatly between free-range or organic eggs and battery farming, almost all male chicks born into the egg industry suffer the same fate.
Justin Kerswell, Viva! campaigns manager, said: "This is what the egg industry has kept secret for so many years - and what Viva! has now uncovered.
"They knew that the mass destruction of baby animals simply because they inconvenienced an industry where profit was king would horrify the British public.
"These new-born, uncomprehending male chicks are sorted from females and then either thrown alive into giant electric mincers or gassed in their thousands."
"It is a literal conveyor belt to death journeyed each year in Britain by 30 to 40 million animals, and all to bring the morning egg to our table."
Viva! said it had obtained the images legally and covertly and its findings had been reported to the North West Animal Health Office.