France has announced it will end the culling of 'unwanted' male chicks by the end of next year.
The country will be one of the first to ban the practice, following in the footsteps of Switzerland who stopped culling male chicks in September last year.
Globally, around seven billion male chickens are 'shredded alive' every year, as they cannot be used for meat or produce eggs. Many are 'gassed, electrocuted or asphyxiated'.
'Shredding of chicks'
"It's time to end the shredding of chicks," said Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume as he announced the measures, which also include ending the castration of piglets without anesthesia.
"France and Germany should be the European motor to advance on this issue. Nothing will be like it was before."
Guillaume also said he hoped a method would soon be developed allowing the sex of a chick to be determined prior to hatching.
'Intensive animal farming'
However, French animal-rights group L214 said the measures did not 'address the basic problems' and described the country's move as 'unambitious'.
According to The Guardian, the group said: "There is nothing on slaughter conditions, nor on how to exit from intensive animal farming."