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New process could end culling of male chicks
The SELEGGT process negates the need to incubate male eggs and cull them on hatching.
Gender can now be identified in hatching eggs 

Germany could be one step closer to ending the culling of male chicks in hatcheries, as scientists introduce a new method of gender identification.

In Germany alone, 45 million male chicks from laying hen breeds are culled each year as they do not fatten enough meat. The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) provided a €5 million grant to develop a method of gender identification in hatching eggs.

Now market-ready, the process - developed by SELEGGT - negates the need to incubate male eggs and cull them on hatching. It uses a laser to burn a hole of no more than 0.3mm into the shell of the hatching egg. A small amount of allantois fluid is then placed on a patented marker outside the hatching egg.

A colour change indicates the presence of the hormone estrone sulphate, which shows that the developing egg is female. The egg does not need to be resealed after identification, as the inner membrane mends itself and closes the tiny hole from within.

Only female chicks will hatch on the 21st day after incubation; male eggs will be separated and processed into animal feed. According to SELEGGT, the test has an accuracy rate of around 98 per cent.

Federal minister of food and agriculture, Julia Klöckner, commented: “This is a great day for animal welfare in Germany! In this way we will set the pace in Europe…

“…once the process is made available to all and the hatcheries have implemented the process, there will be no reason and no justification for chick culling.”

The first table eggs from laying hens that have gone through the process are now available in 223 REWE and PENNY stores in Berlin. A national launch is planned for all of the REWE Group’s 5,500 stores in Germany in the upcoming year.

SELEGGT is working on a business model to make the technology available to the industry as a cost-neutral service. The patented process will be available to the first hatcheries in 2020.

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.