In order that a species can feel pain, two factors are needed. Firstly, the neurones of the nervous system need to be formed. In addition, a central brain is necessary to record the signals of the neurones and transmit the ‘pain’ impulse. Pain can only be felt when this combination exists. There are many studies on the development of an embryo in a chicken egg. According to a study of the Scientific Services of the German Bundestag, embryos can feel pain from the 15th day of incubation onwards.
Scientists disagree about the days before that. The general consensus, however, is that identifying the gender on the ninth day causes significantly less pain to an embryo than that suffered by a day-old chick when it is killed. Ethically, therefore, gender identification should always score more highly than killing day-old chicks.
In order to ensure that the chicks from the SELEGGT process develop normally, an experiment was conducted on these birds under the supervision of Osnabrück University.
The chicks developed into adult chickens and began to lay eggs. Weight gain, laying capacity and egg weight were completely normal and the health of the chicken did not differ at all to that of egg-laying hens from a classic hatchery.
The SELEGGT process thus makes it possible to refrain from chick culling without negatively influencing the quality and vitality of the egg-laying hens.