German scientists at Leipzig University, one of the world’s oldest universities, have developed a method that may spare the 45 million male chicks culled by the nation’s egg industry each year.
Called SELEGGT, the company aims to make the new technology free to hatcheries as soon as 2020. Minister of Agriculture for the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner, SELEGGT’s managing director Dr. Ludger Breloh, and deputy chairman and the executive board of REWE Group, owner of Germany’s second-largest supermarket chain, Jan Kunath, made the announcement at a press conference earlier today.
Leipzig University scientists received roughly €5 million in funding in order to develop a method that allows hatcheries to determine the sex of chicks before they hatch. The procedure involves a laser that creates a miniature hole in the shell and a small amount of liquid is extracted, then tested for the hormone estrone sulfate, which is only present in female chickens.