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      22 02 2017

     Unwanted and scalded to death: Thousands of male ducklings are cruelly killed every day in a Chinese hatchery because they can't lay eggs Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4246492/Thousands-male-ducklings-scalded-death-day.html#ixzz4gJMtTq7u Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
     They are tiny. They are fluffy. And they are about to face the end of their lives.
     Thousands of male ducklings are scalded to death daily at a hatchery in China - the world's largest poultry farming nation - because they are deemed useless.
     A set of shocking pictures show the workers using a spoon net to kill the birds in hot water before having their feather removed in a spinning machine.
     The dead animals would then be sold to snake breeders as snake food or to street vendors to make barbecue.
     Animal activists referred to the practice as 'barbaric' and 'horrifying', but they said that such animal cruelty is not unique to China.
     Every year, billions of day-old male chicks are gassed or ground alive by hatcheries worldwide because they can't lay eggs.
     The pictures were taken on February 16 in an unnamed hatchery in the Tongqiao Village, Xidu Town. The town belongs to the Hengyang County in southern China's Hunan Province.
     Chinese journalist, Li Gen, who took these pictures, said this is a regular practice in his home county.
     Li Gen told MailOnline: 'These ducklings are usually no more than four days old. Nobody wants them and it will cost the hatchery too much money to raise them.
     'The workshop can get busy, so the ducklings have to line up to be killed.'
     Staff from the hatchery told Li Gen that it takes 20 days on average to hatch a duck egg. The workers will then sort the female ones and the male ones into two groups.
     The female ducklings will go on to be sold, but the male one will soon face the tragic ending of their lives because nobody wants to buy them.
     To deal with the surplus male ducklings in the most 'economic' way, the hatchery has decided to scalded them to death instead of burying them alive, which was the traditional method, according to the workers.
     The birds are moved into the workshop in boxes. They are then put into a net and submerged in 80 degree Celsius water.
     After they are killed, the animals are thrown into a spinning machine to have their feather removed.
     The dead ducklings will then be sold to snake breeders as snake food or to street vendors as a barbecue ingredient, according to the hatchery.
     Peter J. Li, the China specialist from Humane Society International, referred to the practice as 'horrifying'.
     He pointed out that mass killing of male birds is not a unique phenomenon to China.
     In the West, a large number of male chicks are gassed, suffocated or ground alive because the industrialised egg production means female chicks are preferred for their ability to lay eggs, according to Peter J. Li.
     'The different is that the cruel practice happens daily in China in public places where there are young children while male chick destruction in the West is mechanised and behind the high walls,' he told MailOnline.
     Peter J. Li urged the public to pay more attention to the cruelty observed in the poultry farming industry because 'we cannot live in a world with our eyes shut'.
     He added that if ducklings were so many, the hatcheries should stop hatching such a large number of duck eggs.
     Journalist Li Gen said he was shocked and revolted by the hatchery's conduct.
     He commented: 'It must be so painful for the ducklings to be scalded to death.
     'If the hatchery must get rid of these male birds, I hope they could find a humane way. This is too cruel.'


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