Animal rights groups have once again raised their voice against shredding of male chicks, which is considered as a legal practice in Australia.

The revival of the call for stopping the practice has come following the recovery of a graphic video in which newbie male chicks were shredded in egg hatcheries across Melbourne. Reports have suggested that around thousands of yellow chicks attempt to keep conveyor belt balance. When they fail, they are crushed. The chicks are even less than a day old.

However, breeders and scientists have stated they are discovering ways in which the gender of the chicks could be identified even before they are hatched. The animal activists Animal Liberation and Aussie Farms released a disturbing video on Tuesday that showed a maceration machine that is plastered instantly with crushed shells and torn bones and flesh.

Male chickens do not produce eggs, so many chicks are crushed as soon as they are born. “We’ve known about this process for a long time, but it’s been very highly guarded by the industry; nobody’s been able to capture it here in Australia until now,” Aussie Farms director Chris Felforce said. “I think most people would be absolutely horrified to learn that this is what they’re paying for when they buy eggs, even those with ostensibly higher-welfare labels like ‘free range’.”

Animal Liberation indicated that using the graphic video developed in June, they would start a petition to be signed by those who want the shredding of male chicks to stop. Specialised Breeders Australia claimed the video was shot in their hatchery. The company’s hatchery is located close to Bendigo, Victoria. It supplies almost 70 percent of day-old chicks to egg farmers every year.

“Specialised Breeders Australia acknowledges this is an issue and is looking forward to adopting new technology as soon as it becomes commercially available where male embryos can be identified during incubation,” the company told AAP on Tuesday. “This will eliminate the current practice.”

CSIRO scientist Tim Doran said that he was working on the discovery of some method by which the sex of the chicks can be determined. They use a technology in which an egg can be screened with a laser light for sex determination. Once it is done, they can be removed from the incubator to ensure that only female chicks hatch. The research is still in progress, the scientist said. He added that it is believed the research will be completed in the next two years.