Not In My Easter Basket: Dyeing Chicks Should Be Banned

Dyeing animals neon-bright pinks, purples and other hues is banned in about half the states of the U.S. But last month, the Florida legislature passed a bill to overturn the ban, with a view to assuaging a dog groomer wanting to “enter contests where people elaborately sculpture and color their pets,” says the New York Times. Animal rights activists have immediately cried foul, charging that, especially after Easter, humane societies are “overflowing” with animals dyed the same colors as commercial Easter candy.

Chicks in particular are dyed, either by injecting an incubating egg with dye or food coloring or by spraying hatchlings. The bright colors are not permanent as the chicks shed their fluff and normal-colored feathers grow in. Indeed, the New York Times points out, there are “scientific and educational purposes” for dyeing chicks, such as tracking them after they hatch and to show students how the birds’ feathers come in.

Poultry experts say the practice is safe, provided the dye is non-toxic. But children given the colorful chicks in an Easter basket soon tire of them. Fewer poultry farmers sell them and those who do are “tight-lipped” about the whole business:

One farmer in Missouri, who asked that her name not be used to avoid reprisals, said she dyed chicks to sell (quietly) to the wholesale trade. “The bird’s sprayed with a fine mist,” she said. “It’s done real quickly, and the birds are put in a hatcher, where they dry off real quick. It does not hurt them at all.”

Animal rights advocates object to such claims, saying that the dyeing process is “stressful” for the chicks. They also object to selling the birds at such a young age, noting that the the Florida law which legislators wish to repeal also decrees that chicks cannot be sold or given away before they are four weeks old.

Not that you have any plans to making, giving or receiving an Easter basket this Sunday. But should you be so inclined, there are numerous other options for filling a basket (including foregoing a basket and loads of candy over-wrapped in plastic packaging) than live animals who will not be cared about after some fleeting initial fascination.

As for the practice of dyeing animals colors that they are not: Are there any benefits to the animals to be subjected to such? Should we not take into account the experience of  the animals whose feathers or fur is being dyed colors that don’t exist in nature?

Related Care2 Coverage

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Photo by pwbaker

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P M.
P M.7 months ago

Ban all sales of any animal at Easter. These innocent animals are abused, maybe unwittingly, by families who don't really want them in the first place. What happens when these cute chicks or bunnies grow up? Abandoned! Let loose or killed!

M k
M s7 months ago

Changing an animals fur color to seel them should be BANNED NO EXCEPTIONS Those animals are treated as a toy and are soon thrown away What is wrong with people?the stupidity and lack of compassion are overflowing ,,,,nothing to be proud of you dumbass parents

LMj Sunshine


LMj Sunshine


Sassy A.
Sassy A.2 years ago

What is wrong with some people??? Have they just turned off their humanity & brains???

Mariann Rannenberg

This is cruel to dye a chick. You have no idea what can happen. The problem also with adopting these animals is, who takes care of them? They end up dead. Keep the right Easter basket. Stop this practice it's a form of animal cruelty.

Alison D.
Alison Duncan2 years ago

Besides, how many children really want a chicken as a pet, really.

If they were really so sought after there'd be a lot more chicken toys at Toys R Us.

Alison D.
Alison Duncan2 years ago

Further perpetuating the misconception that pets are toys.

It's disgusting!

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.2 years ago

Why hasn't it been banned yet?

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

my god what are people thinking?! they are ANIMALS! not objects to color and exploit and entertain ourselves with! dying animals is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of