Dutch ag-tech firm aiming to stop male chick culling gets $43 million

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch company with a product aimed at ending the practice of culling unwanted baby male chickens has received a 40 million euro ($42.6 million) loan to scale up its operations, the European Investment Bank said on Thursday.

Billions of male chicks are killed globally each year shortly after birth as only hens are wanted for egg laying.

Chicken eggs take about three weeks to hatch, but In Ovo, a Leiden University spin off, has developed a high-speed system for screening and removing male eggs nine days after incubation begins.

“In Ovo’s technology means an improvement in the field of animal welfare and sustainability of the poultry sector, which is a good match with the European Investment Bank’s overall priorities,” bank Vice-President Kris Peeters said in a statement.

In Ovo founder Wouter Bruins said the company would use the funding to expand internationally.

($1 = 0.9398 euros)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Mark Potter)