“We want to be able to tell in the egg whether it will become a male or female chick. That way we can stop male chicks being hatched only to be killed a few hours later,” the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician told Bild on Monday.
The tabloid had revealed in February how 20 million male chicks are gassed or shredded every year, and the minister had promised to come up with a plan by Easter.
News of the practice prompted on newspaper to compare food producers to "Nazis".
"We don't mean to compare the acts, because the Nazis are unique through the monstrosity of their extermination work. But the behaviour of deciding over life and death and only valuing animals for their usefulness is related," the Rheinische Post wrote.
Schmidt now says that he hopes the first “killing-free” eggs will hit the market by the end of 2016, and that shredding male chicks will end by 2017.
“Businesses have to help,” Schmidt said. “If the tests [of the new system] go well, the hatcheries have to install the right equipment as quickly as possible to stop the shredding.”
Schmidt also claims that there will only be a small price increase of between one and two cents per egg to pay for the new tests – arguing that anyone who is against animal cruelty will be happy to pay.