New Technology to Stop Male Chick Culling Set to Launch

Male chicks will no longer be ground up alive after birth, thanks to technology that determines gender in-ovo.


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New technology TeraEgg, developed by Ovabrite—a subsidiary of egg producer Vital Farms—will eliminate the cruel egg industry practice of “male chick culling.” Male chick culling is a common practice in the egg industry where male chicks, who are not suited for either egg-laying nor being raised for meat, are ground up alive in maceration machines, or suffocated. The technology will detect the sex of an egg embryo, allowing workers to remove male eggs before the incubation period. In June, industry group United Egg Producers (UEP) announced they would eliminate the practice by 2020, which will reduce the suffering of an estimated seven billion male chicks every year. UEP President Chad Gregory said that “as soon as it is commercially available and economically feasible,” techniques to eliminate culling will be implemented across the industry. While the development of TeraEgg is a step that will end a certain form of cruelty inherent within the egg industry, egg-laying hens—even those in cage-free facilities—continue to face many other forms of cruelty, as documented by recent undercover footage shot at a Costco supplier by animal-rights group Direct Action Everywhere.

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