Tech breakthrough may halt culling of 7 billion male chicks

Animal News: Tech breakthrough may halt culling of 7 billion male chicks
Chick in nature

Israeli scientists have developed a technology that prevents male chicks from hatching, which could end mass culling in the egg industry.

Each year, egg farmers worldwide kill around 7 billion male chicks who are only a day old. These chicks can’t be used to lay eggs or don’t have enough meat, so farmers kill them. The baby animals are gassed with carbon dioxide or shredded.

A laboratory in Israel has discovered a solution: prevent male eggs from hatching at all so they don’t have to be killed.

This new technology offers a solution to what scientist Yuval Cinnamon sees as the most devastating animal welfare issue worldwide: culling day-old male chicks in the egg industry.

Cinnamon and his team have developed a technique that introduces a sex-linked genetic trait in eggs. This trait halts the development of male embryos shortly after the eggs are laid. The technology activates the genetic trait through blue-light illumination, causing male embryos to stop developing while leaving female chicks unaffected.

“We can see it in the market in two years if we start full force,” Yaaritt Wainberg, CEO of Poultry by Huminn, which owns the sexing solution technology, said. “It will solve a major, major issue for the industry.”

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