Dutch poultry business In Ovo has entered into a €40m loan deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will see the company expand its new technology which will allow hatcheries to hatch female-only chicks.
The move will make culling day-old male chicks unnecessary and improves overall sustainability.
This funding will propel the expansion of 'Ella', which is a fast and accurate technology to determine the sex of hatching eggs at an early stage.
By implementing this technology, hatcheries can exclusively hatch female chicks and decrease the use of valuable resources.
Globally, an estimated 6.5 billion male chicks are culled each year in the production of laying hens. The technology from In Ovo paves the way for an egg supply chain with an enhanced animal welfare and reduced environmental footprint.
In Ovo founder Wouter Bruins said the funding “will permit us to further develop our technology pipeline and become a worldwide player, positively impacting animals throughout the food production channel”.
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said: “Ensuring that Europe’s animal welfare standards are among the highest in the world is a priority for us.
"With this technology, we will be avoiding the systematic killing of millions of male chicks throughout the European Union. This is a major step in our work to strengthen animal welfare standards in our union.”
The InvestEU programme is backing the EIB financing for this project. Beyond Ella, the loan will be used to further develop Eve - In Ovo's innovative sensor platform that optimises the full hatching process.
This allows for hatcheries to produce more and healthier chicks, thereby supporting animal welfare even further.