No-kill chicken eggs go on sale in Germany | News | DW | 08.11.2018
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No-kill chicken eggs go on sale in Germany

Every year in Germany 45 million male chicks are shredded or gassed to death because they don't produce eggs. Now eggs produced using a new method that isn't so brutal are in supermarkets.

The first eggs made using a new method that doesn't involve the mass killing of male chicks are hitting German supermarkets.

Every year, 45 million male chicks in Germany are thrown into mechanical shredders or gassed to death moments after coming out of their shells because they cannot lay eggs and are not as meaty as broiler chickens.

Read more: Scientists train laser beams on cruel practice of shredding newborn chicks

However, a new technique developed by German researchers at the University of Leipzig with funding from Agriculture Ministry allows hatcheries to identify the sex of chickens before they hatch.

"With this method there will no longer be a need in the long-run to kill male chicks," Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner said in Berlin on Thursday.

Although not all hatcheries use the procedure, Klöckner was optimistic that the method would be put into widespread use.

"This is a big day for the welfare of animals in Germany. And with this, we are the pacesetters in Europe," she said.

The first eggs produced using the new method are available in November at 223 Rewe and Penny supermarkets in Berlin. By next year, all of the supermarket chains' 5,500 stores will carry the so-called "Respeggt-Free range-Eggs."

Read more: 5 things you probably didn't know eggs can do

How does the new method work?

Through the so-called SELEGGT procedure a laser burns a tiny hole in the egg shell. This allows for the extraction of a small amount of the allantois liquid from inside the shell.

During the process, the egg is not harmed. Next, using a patented color marker the chick's sex can be determined by detecting the hormone estrone sulfate, which is only present by females. 

The male eggs are then separated and transformed into high-value animal feed.

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