§ Mr. Bob Russell
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is his policy on the methods used for slaughtering day-old chicks; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many male day-old chicks were destroyed in the last year for which figures are available; what method was used for killing; and if he will take action to end the use of the present method and level of slaughtering. 
§ Mr. Morley
The methods permitted for the killing of surplus chicks and embryos in hatchery waste are specified in EU Council Directive 93/119/EC and "the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter and Killing) Regulations 1995". The following methods are permitted in the UK: (a) the use of a mechanical apparatus producing immediate death; (b) exposure to gas mixtures; and (c) dislocation of the neck. The majority of surplus chicks are killed using one of the first two methods listed above, but no figures on the total numbers killed, or the method used, are available centrally.
These methods were approved after careful consideration. The Farm Animal Welfare Council assessed the mechanical destruction method, and recommended its use in preference to 100 per cent. carbon dioxide. There are currently no plans to change the permitted methods for disposing of surplus chicks.
The number of surplus male chicks disposed of annually is largely dependent on the demand for laying hens: being market-led, it is not a matter on which the Government would wish to legislate. However, research is continuing into the possibility of producing single sex eggs to help reduce the number of unwanted chicks.
§ Mr. Paice
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 3 February 2000,Official Report, column 721W, on day-old chicks, if he will list each of the countries within and outside the EU from which day-old chicks were imported in 1999, and the numbers imported from each country. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 6 March 2000]: The following table list the import of day-old chicks into the United Kingdom from countries within and outside the EU in 1999.
1999 Number of chicks imported EU Countries Austria 9,270 Belgium 45,121 Germany 34,816,225 Denmark 411,000 France 4,633,625 Republic of Ireland 58,025,730 Netherlands 1,073,968 99,014,939 Non-EU Countries USA 174,328 Canada 17,798 Total 192,126
The total for imports from other member states has been revised and therefore varies from the figure given in my reply of 3 February. The figures given in the table are still provisional and subject to further validation.