New Delhi/ Hyderabad: The animal rights body PETA India on Thursday released eyewitness footage revealing how chicken in farms in the two Telugu states are confined to severely crowded cages and subjected to cruelty.
PETA India, which released the footage provided by ‘Anonymous for Animal Rights’ on World Animal Day, said these facilities are linked to top meat and egg producers in India.
Battery cages were the most common housing method for chickens used for eggs in the country years after the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) acknowledged that they were illegal and advised states that they must be phased out by 2017.
PETA India asked the government to stop the practices of battery-cage housing, mutilation, and forced moulting of chickens.
It alleged that portions of female chicks’ beaks are sliced off with a searing-hot blade without any pain killers, and they’re shoved into cramped, dirty wire battery cages in which each bird’s floor space is smaller than an A4 sheet of paper.
“After the hens stop producing eggs, workers pack them into crowded trucks, and many don’t survive the gruelling trip to the slaughterhouse.
“At chicken-meat shops, workers hold down the birds and cut their throats or chop off their heads. At so-called ‘modern’ slaughterhouses, chickens are shackled and hung upside down before their throats are slit,” it pointed out.
Asked about the poor conditions of pountry, the industry responded saying this was a “motivated” campaign as as the activists are known to receive liberal grants under the garb of fighting animal rights.
Mr Sanjeev Chintawar, a spokesperson for the National Egg Co-ordination Committee said that the poultry industry was under pressure from international lobbying associations to allow chicken legs as a product into India.
“US warehouses are packed and there is no place to store these. Hence the US is using all tactics to push us into accepting the import,” he said. “We are not against imports. But there should be a level playing field. The landed cost of the chicken legs should be comparable to domestic rates.”
While refraining to comment on the observations of PETA, Mr Chitawar said Telangana state and Andhra Pradesh produce the highest number of eggs. Birds lay eggs only when they have sufficient room in the cage. “There is ample evidence to show that our poultry farms are not cramped as alleged by rights activists,” he said.
Mr Ram Reddy, state vice president of the Poultry Farmers Association, said that the industry required farm status to withstand competition. Farm status enables the sector to seek loans and credit facilities from banks and financial institutions at competitive rates, he said.
Telangana Broilers Association president G. Ranjith Reddy said that government has been pro active in addressing the problems of the industry....