Ban of Starvation Force Molting of Laying Hens

INDIA - Humane Society International praised the Animal Welfare Board of India for banning the use of starvation to force egg laying hens into a molt phase.
calendar icon 10 March 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Starvation force molting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg laying hens of food in order to rejuvenate their reproductive tracts and stimulate additional cycles of egg production.

Yesterday, the AWBI ordered all poultry farms in India to immediately discontinue starvation force molting regimes, stating that the practice is in violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and a punishable offence. AWBI has directed local animal welfare organisations to work alongside law enforcement to ensure the ban is implemented.

Under starvation force molting regimes, food is often withheld for up to 14 days and may be combined with 1-2 days of water deprivation. During a force molt, hens suffer greatly and may lose up to 35 per cent of their body weight. This practice of food withdrawal has been widely questioned throughout the world and is already prohibited in Australia and the European Union, and prohibited in the United States by the egg industry’s animal husbandry programme.

“Starving hens for weeks on end is nothing less than animal cruelty and has no place in modern agricultural practices,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI’s factory farming campaign in India. “By banning starvation force molting, the AWBI is taking an important step toward protecting farm animals.”

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