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Huge step for animal welfare: introducing no kill eggs

The world’s first “no-kill” eggs are now on sale in Germany. The technology has been developed by German scientists at Leipzig University, one of the world’s oldest universities.

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.

Since male chickens don’t lay eggs (and aren’t economically valuable – costs too much to fatten them) approximately 4.6 billion of them are killed globally – typically via shredding machines or suffocation – every year.

Called SELEGGT, the company has created new technology that will be free to German hatcheries.

SELEGGT GmbH was founded in March 2017. It aims to further develop the research on endocrinological gender identification in the hatching egg to create practice-ready solutions that can be used to the highest extent possible in the future.

The first eggs with the added value of “No Chick Culling” are already being sold in PENNY discounters in the city of Berlin and in REWE supermarkets in the Berlin region. The company expects that the eggs will be available to more stores in 2019.

Minister of Agriculture for the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture Julia Klöckner, SELEGGT’s MD 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 last November.

“This is a big day for animal welfare in Germany,” Klöckner said. “As soon as the procedure is available to all and all hatcheries work with the method, there is no reason and no justification for chick culling. …This is a top achievement for the scientists”

“We will be working hard to make the SELEGGT procedure available to hatcheries free of charge,” said Dr Breloh.

The process

On the 8th – 9th day of the incubation, this endocrinological gender ID in the hatching egg 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 sulphate, which is only present in female chickens. 

By utilising a non-invasive procedure to extract the liquid the fertilised eggs are left unharmed. Hence the interior of the hatching egg is untouched and remains safe and sound.

The extracted liquid is put into a patented marker outside of the hatching egg. Then a reaction takes place where the colour of the sample changes, making it easy to identify whether the hatching egg is male or female.

While SELEGGT technology does not spare female chicks born to hatcheries from their inevitable fate of laying eggs in overcrowded facilities or suffering from mental and physical stress until their bodies are spent, the aim is to spare Germany’s 45 million male chicks – and beyond – from a gruesome death.

“People can now contribute to overcoming the practice of chick culling through their buying behaviour,”Kunath added.

And by 2020, the company hopes to make SELEGGT free to all local hatcheries. insights

Wow, what a mind-blowing innovation! And what a powerful example of the guilt-free consumption trend! We’ve been writing about this trend for years, but it remains one trend that you should run with in 2019.

Here’s why:

– The divided self. Unless you’re lying to yourself, you’re probably uncomfortable about the negative impact of your lifestyle. And you’re not alone: 92% of consumers are trying to live more sustainably.

And while many people are changing their behaviour (witness the massive global surge in the popularity of veganism over the past few years), there are undoubtedly more who aren’t quite ready or willing to change. That’s why flexitarianism is a thing.

– Outsourced responsibility. Indeed, people are great at passing the buck. Take another huge sustainability pain point: single-use plastic.

A study found that while 85% of British adults were concerned about plastic waste, only 3% felt consumers should take most responsibility for reducing the waste, with brands most expected to lead on the issue. No one said human nature was fair!

– Guilt = opportunity! That’s why finding ways to absolve consumers of guilt is perhaps the biggest opportunity in modern business. Even better if your guilt-free alternative is actually BETTER than the polluting alternative!

Other examples are Lia, the eco-friendly pregnancy test where the flushable design also helps protects users’ privacy.

And Day2, Unilever’s clothes-freshening spray that means lightly worn clothes don’t need to be washed.

Gather your team and think about which of your customers’ guilt-laden pain points you could eliminate. Think big! Could going guilt-free radically transform the entire positioning of your industry?

Source: Seleggt,

More information can be found on Seleggt’s consumer website:

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