German tech company
An estimated 4-6 billion male chicks are slaughtered globally every year because they serve no economic purpose. Some are suffocated, others are fed alive into grinding or shredding machines to be processed into reptile food.
“If you can determine the sex of a hatching egg you can entirely dispense with the culling of live male chicks,” said SELEGGT GmbH managing director Dr. Ludger Breloh, who spearheaded the four-year program by German supermarket Rewe Group to make its own-brand eggs more sustainable.
It’s a “breakthrough” that could put an end to the annual live shredding of billions of male chicks worldwide. The process can determine the sex of a chick just nine days after an egg has been fertilized. Male eggs are processed into animal feed, leaving only female chicks to hatch at the end of a 21-day incubation period.
Breloh said his first breakthrough came when he approached scientists at the University of Leipzig where Prof Almuth Einspanier had developed a chemical marker – similar to a pregnancy test – that could detect a hormone present in high quantities in female eggs. Mixed with fluid from fertilized eggs at nine days, the marker changes blue for a male and white for a female, with a 98.5% accuracy rate.
A laser beam burns a 0.3mm-wide hole in the shell. Then, air pressure is applied to the shell exterior, pushing a drop of fluid out of the hole. The process takes one second per egg and enables fluid to be collected from eggs without touching them.
“It worked absolutely faultlessly,” said Breloh of the test phase. “Today, female hens are laying eggs in farms in Germany that have been bred without killing any male chicks.”
Earlier this year, SELEGGT GmbH hatched the first brood of hens bred using the method. Their eggs – the first to be sold from hens reared without killing male chicks – hit supermarket shelves in Berlin in November, bearing the seal “respeggt”.
Of course, and thanks to monopoly rights, which are still legal in today’s corrupt global economy, SELEGGT GmbH can now sit on its new throne and demand “royalties” from anyone who uses “their technology,” which humanity must forever be grateful. SELEGGT GmbH will require supermarkets to pay a few extra cents on every box of eggs sold with their respeggt seal. Eventually, the group hopes to expand the model across Europe.
“With the market readiness of this process, Germany is a pioneer,” said German minister of food and agriculture, Julia Klöckner, whose ministry funded the project. “Once the process is made available to all and the hatcheries have implemented it, there will be no reason and no justification for chick culling.”