Each year, 50 million male chicks are culled in this way, Julien Denormandie said in an interview posted on the website of daily Le Parisien. Only females, future egg-laying hens, are kept alive.
“France is the first country in the world, along with Germany, to end the crushing and gassing of male chicks,” Denormandie added.
The two countries indicated they will try to convince their European Union partners to outlaw the practice at a council of EU agriculture ministers.
Animal welfare organizations have long lobbied for a similar ban in North America.