Govt Seeks to Control Egg Quality

NAGALAND, INDIA - The state government wants to put in place a quality regime for trade in eggs and other poultry products.
calendar icon 27 June 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

Even as the Animal Welfare Board of India has recently directed all poultry farms in the country to discontinue immediately forced moulting by starvation, stating that the practice is in violation of the country's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and is a punishable offence, the Nagaland government wants to put in place a quality regime when it comes to trade in eggs and other poultry products.

Morung Express reports that Nagaland currently gets its egg supply mostly from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Orissa. What is worrying is the fact that the state has no committee or board to check and monitor the quality of the eggs coming into the market.

Speaking to the nwspaper, Dr Temsu Jamir, Additional Director from the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department, said that since 2005, the Department took responsibility for monitoring egg quality, for which a certain nominal fee was taken from the egg traders. However, this led to disagreement between the Department and the traders, the latter stating that since an 'egg' is not a meat, the department should not levy any fee/taxes on them.

The court gave no ruling for six years but on 14 June this year, the Department received the final order which favoured the petitioner. The Veterinary department is now on the stance that the 'token' is not the issue but the 'quality' is. Unless a Government body is given the full rights to monitor, traders obviously cannot be relied upon for 'quality' control.

Morung Express reports that eggs can carry numerous diseases. Salmonella is probably the most common disease one can get from eating eggs. Chicken eggs become infected before the shell is created during incubation. The bacteria can actually be passed on from hen to egg or it can be caused by improper handling. This disease is called by its bacteria called Salmonella enteritis, which can be found inside raw eggs. Disease is spread by eating eggs that have these bacteria. Symptoms begin two days after eating and include diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Starvation force moulting, widely practised on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives laying hens of feed in order to manipulate their laying cycles. Feed is often withheld for up to 14 days and may be combined with one or two days of water deprivation.

Following the recent ban by the Animal Welfare Board of India on moulting regimes on poultry farms, the Morung Express spoke to the Veterinary Department Poultry Farm manager, Dr B. Lama.

He said that the question of this moult regime or cruelty to animals does not arise as there are no established large-scale laying farms in Nagaland. As of now, Nagaland only has breeding and hatching farms, which do not practice any form of cruelty to animals.

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