Activist Urges Govt to Phase out 'Barren Battery Cages'

INDIA - Animal welfare activists have urged the government to discontinue the extreme confinement of egg-laying hens in what they describe as "barren battery cages", asking for timelines to be brought in to phase out the use of such cages in Indian poultry farms.
calendar icon 9 October 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

According to The Hindu Business Line, in a letter to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, President of the World Council of Arya Samaj, animal activist Swami Agnivesh decried the poultry industry’s inhumane confinement of hens.

"An overwhelming majority of hens used in the egg industry are consigned to barren battery cages, which are so small that each bird is given a space no larger than A4 size sheet of paper. The battery cages prevent all forms of natural behaviours, such as nesting, perching and roosting, scratching and foraging, exercising and spreading their wings. I urge the Government of India to ban such a barbaric practice of confining egg laying hens," he said in a statement from the Humane Society International.

The HSI note further pointed out that the Animal Welfare Board of India has issued a directive that the practice of confining hens in barren battery cages violated the provisions of Section 11(1) (e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Further, the confinement of hens in overcrowded and unhygienic battery cages facilitates the immune suppression in birds, providing a breeding ground for food-borne diseases like Salmonella.

N.G. Jayasimha, Managing Director of HSI/India urged the Government to move the Indian poultry industry towards being a global leader in animal welfare. "They should immediately establish clear timelines to phase out the use of barren battery cages in Indian poultry farms," he said.

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