Were Baby Chicks Killed to Make Your Mayo?

Farm Forward wants mayonnaise makers to stop treating baby roosters like garbage.
Jul 1, 2014·
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

To make mayonnaise, you have to break some eggs. For companies like Hellmann’s and Best Foods, two leading mayo producers, that amounts to millions of eggs every year—the combined effort of an army of laying hens. But to keep the mayonnaise eggs coming, these companies need to hatch more chicks from fertilized eggs.

That’s where there’s a problem: When those eggs hatch male chicks, Hellmann’s and Best Foods toss them like so many empty shells—either gassing, suffocating, or grinding them up while still alive, according to a new campaign from the animal rights group Farm Forward, citing a 2011 study. We reached out to Unilever, which owns both mayo brands, for a comment on the campaign. It did not immediately respond.

Farm Forward is calling on the companies to change this practice and is gathering support from consumers with a genius new video campaign that puts the baby chicks right there in the kitchen. Instead of ending male chickens' short lives in the industrial equivalent of the garbage disposal, Farm Forward recommends determining the sex of birds before they hatch, raising the male chickens for meat, or moving away from eggs as a base altogether—anything to keep the chicks from being ground up.