Christian Schmidt, Germany's Agricultural Minister, announced on October 20 that “chick shredding” will be banned from 2017, making Germany the first country in the world to stop the practice. Every year, millions of tiny male chicks are ground up alive shortly after hatching because as males they don't lay eggs. Now there is hope that this brutal practice could come to an end. Previously egg producers had to wait until the chick hatched to tell if it was male or female. But new technology will enable the sex of each fertilised egg to be determined before the chick inside develops.