Poultry Biz: No more battery cages

Law banning battery cages to be notified.

Hyderabad: Poultry farmers will have to soon end battery cage farming and go for cage free egg farming as the Law Commission of India has asked the Centre to notify the rules framed in 2012 to prohibit battery cage farming of egg laying hens.

The Law Commission which reviewed laws on the transport and rearing of poultry birds as per the request of the Ministry of Law and Justice informed the ministry that though rules were framed in 2012 for protection of egg laying hens and broiler chickens they have not been notified.

The panel felt that although the Animal Welfare Board of India had clarified in 2012 that confining hens in battery cages violates the provisions of Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, most poultries are allowing battery cages.

The law panel pointed out that hens used for the production of eggs are reared in small wire cages called battery cages, a name given due to the arrangement of cages placed side by side. The battery cages are so small that the birds are unable to stand up or spread wings without touching the sides of the cage or other hens or circle without impediment.

The panel pointed out that the floor space available to each hen was approximately 623.7 cm2, that is almost the area of a sheet of A4 paper and a typical egg farm in the ur country contains thousands of cages with thousands of birds, stacked many tiers high.

The Law Commission noted that this method of rearing hens leads to sore feet, abrasions, broken bones and other injuries to the birds.

It also increases the risk of the birds contracting contagious diseases necessitating the administration of drugs.

The commission felt that the implications of caging broilers raise several concerns, and therefore broiler battery cages should be replaced with cage-free rearing to improve stocking density, feed, and hygiene.

The panel asked the Centre to include stringent punishments in 1960 Act as existing provisions prescribed only fines.

Legal circles expect the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg Laying Hens) Rules, 2017 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Broiler Chicken) Rules, 2017 would be notified soon by the Centre.

Once these rules come into force nobody can engage in poultry farming without registering with the animal husbandry department of the state.

The poultries will be allowed to operate only after certification by the animal husbandry department that the farm is cage-free.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story