Unwanted by the poultry industry, billions of male chicks are thrown into mechanical shredders or gassed to death the moment they enter this world. German researchers have developed a more humane alternative.
Poultry farming is a particularly unpleasant business – especially for male chicks. Because they are not well-suited to be raised for meat – and because they don’t lay eggs – about 45 million male chicks are killed shortly after they hatch each year in Germany alone. Worldwide, that figure is put at about 2.5 billion.
On industrial livestock farms, the baby birds are usually suffocated with carbon dioxide or shredded alive in a mechanical chopper.
Germany’s Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt is set to unveil a machine that could put an end to the mass slaughter of male chicks.
The machine uses a process of “in-ovo” sex determination and was developed as part of Agriculture Ministry-supported research project led by the University of Leipzig.
Researchers managed to establish a method for determining the gender of fertilized eggs as early as 72 hours after the incubation process has started.
The method is “an economic, practical and appropriate alternative” to shredding, said Schmidt, who will present the new prototype at Berlin’s International Green Week, which opens on Friday (20.01.2017).
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