New York Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal has proposed a bill to ban schools in the state from using any animals in inhumane and unnecessary “hatching projects.”

Many kindergarten and elementary schools throughout the country purchase fertile eggs from suppliers and place them into classroom incubators to hatch. The eggs can be from a number of different bird species, including chickens, quail, ducks, and turkeys.

The purpose of the project is ostensibly to teach children about life cycles and developmental phases of these animals.

However, as addressed by NYS Assembly Bill A00058, there is innate cruelty in the process that shows blatant disregard for the lives and needs of the animals involved.

To properly comprehend the failures of these incubation projects, it helps to understand the intricate process taken to hatch a healthy chick naturally.

According to nonprofit organization United Poultry Concerns, a mother hen is hugely attentive to her eggs as they develop. Her body and chosen nesting environment create the ideal temperature, moisture, ventilation and humidity to incubate her eggs. She painstakingly and precisely rotates each egg up to 30 times every day during the three week period — an important process to ensure the embryos develop properly.

Around three days before they are ready to hatch, the embryonic chicks within their shells can hear the sounds of their mothers and have been known to respond to the alarm calls of a rooster. They begin to peep a few days before they emerge, to let the hen know they’re on the way. The mother hen and chicks communicate vocally during the time-consuming hatching process.

All the chicks hatch within a similar time period; almost immediately, they head off with the mother hen to explore their environment and pick up all the skills they need to survive.

Now contrast that with a sterile, artificial incubator environment. Perhaps the climate is right for development — assuming that there is no human error or power outage that sees the heat lamp go off outside of school hours, resulting in the death of the embryo.

If the eggs aren’t turned correctly and regularly, chicks die or become deformed, as their developing organs stick to the shell. Even overhandling of the eggs can have devastating effects.

Once hatched, the schools lack the resources to care for the chicks correctly. They are neglected, may not be fed for hours or even days, and end up being an unwanted, often disposable burden.

It is completely unnecessary to compromise the welfare and lives of innocent animals in an attempt to educate school children about biology; there are many more compassionate methods of achieving the same outcome.

New Yorkers, please help this important legislation pass by contacting your assemblymembers and urging them to support it. You can find their contact information here: https://nyassembly.gov/mem

 

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Chick in an incubator