(ORDO NEWS) — Every year, billions of young bettas are euthanized shortly after birth, and now Israeli researchers are ready to put an end to this horrific practice. By editing the genes of the domestic chicken, they “prohibited” the birds from producing males.
In egg breeds of chickens , only females are of economic value: the body weight of such birds is low, and the quality of the meat leaves much to be desired.
As a result, bettas are massively killed shortly after they are born (most often in rather cruel ways: strangled, crushed, electrocuted or crushed alive) so as not to waste resources on them.
Only a fraction of the carcasses are sold for sale, such as for pet food or zoo animals, while the rest are processed into bone meal or burned.
The total number of chickens killed in this way is approximately seven billion annually.
This barbaric practice is massively condemned by animal rights activists, and today it has already been banned in several European countries.
However, Israeli geneticists believe that it is not the consequences that should be dealt with, but the cause: if male chickens are undesirable, you just need to “learn” the hens to lay eggs with them.
Researchers at the Volcani Center , an agricultural research organization in Israel, have edited the genes of a laying hen, depriving it of the ability to produce cockerels, Agence France-Presse reported.
Apart from this important change, such hens are completely identical to ordinary laying hens and are capable of laying edible eggs.
In modified hens, male embryos, unlike female ones, do not develop, and such eggs are easy to reject from those where chickens develop, already on the 18th day of incubation.
They can then be processed into pet food, as is usually the case with unfertilized eggs from normal chickens.
In addition to respecting animal rights, this technology will greatly facilitate the procedure for sorting eggs and chickens, saving both time and money for poultry farms.
In the case of a complete replacement of livestock with modified chickens, the costs will pay for themselves within two years, the researchers noted.
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