In 2035 global egg demand will have risen 50% from 1985. Because we are not able to tell in the egg whether it will become a male or female chick, billons of one day-old male chicks will be killed. International research initiatives are underway in this area, and governments encourage the development of an alternative with the goal of eliminating the culling of day-old male chicks. The Netherlands holds an exceptional position in the European egg trade, but is also the only country in the European Union where the downside of the egg sector, the practice of killing day-old male chicks, is a recurrent subject of societal debate. ‘Preventing the killing of young animals’ and ‘in ovo sex determination’ are the two alternative approaches available to solve this problem. It is clear that both approaches solve the problem of killing day-old male chicks, either by keeping them alive or by preventing them from living, but they also raise a lot of new animal welfare-related dilemmas. A thorough analysis was undertaken of these dilemmas and the results are presented in this article. The analysis resulted in an ethical framework based on the two main approaches in bioethics: a consequentialist approach and a deontological approach. This ethical framework was used to develop an online survey administered to ascertain Dutch public opinion about these alternative approaches. The results show that neither alternative will be fully accepted, or accepted by more than half of Dutch society. However, the survey does provide an insight into the motives that are important for people’s choice: food safety and a good treatment of animals. Irrespective of the approach chosen, these values should be safeguarded and communicated clearly.