Goa Supports Ban on Starving Laying Hens for Moult

INDIA - The Government of Goa us directing egg producers to discontinue starvation force-moulting of laying hens.
calendar icon 14 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

The Director of Animal Husbandry for the Government of Goa has directed the state's veterinary officers and the North and South Goa SPCAs to ensure that the state's egg producers comply with the Animal Welfare Board of India's order to immediately discontinue starvation force molting regimes, and to initiate appropriate corrective measures against egg producers still employing this practice.

In March, the Animal Welfare Board of India confirmed that starvation force moulting is a punishable offence under India's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, and ordered all egg production facilities to immediately discontinue the practice.

N.G. Jayasimha, manager of Humane Society International's factory farming campaign in India, said: "We are grateful to the Government of Goa and we hope that egg laying farms comply with this order. Egg producers who continue to starve birds to induce molt must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act."

HSI urges anyone with information about a farm inducing molting by starvation to email this confidential drop box: [email protected].

HSI adds the following statements:

  • Starvation force moulting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food for up to 14 days and may be combined with one to two days of water deprivation, in order to manipulate their egg laying cycle.
  • During a forced moult, 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 prohibited in Australia, the European Union and the United States, under the American egg industry's animal husbandry programme.
  • Starvation force moulting dramatically increases the risk of hens' laying salmonella-infected eggs.
  • The Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare Laws in Maharashtra has directed Maharashtra's Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries to ensure that all egg producers and integrators discontinue starvation force moulting.
  • The Joint Secretary of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Karnataka, has directed all egg producers in the state to discontinue starvation force moulting.
  • The Chandigarh Administration's Director of Animal Husbandry has requested state veterinary officers, the SPCA, and People for Animals-Chandigarh to inspect all egg laying farms and ensure compliance with the order against starvation force moulting.
  • The order against starvation force moulting comes on the heels of a growing movement against battery cage egg production and farm animal cruelty. India's factory farms confine 140 to 200 million hens in barren battery cages, where each bird lives within a space smaller than a single standard sized sheet of paper.
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