The government is planning to floor a new law to stop cruelty in the poultry farms. However, the move may raise the input cost of the poultry business and thereby, a consumer will have to pay more to enjoy poultry products
You may have to shell out more bucks in order to savour chicken and eggs soon. In a bid to check the cruelty to the birds in poultry farms, the Central government is planning to chalk out stricter set of rules. As per a report by Dainik Bhaskar, the Centre will soon bring a new legislation for the same. As per the proposed law, the breeding of chicken will have to be done out in the open contrary to the present scenario where chickens are kept in cages. The new norms will reportedly increase the input cost of the poultry business and thereby, a consumer will have to pay more to enjoy the poultry products.
The proposed move comes after the Centre had asked the Law Commission to submit a report on ‘Housekeeping of Egg Laying Hens and Broilers Chicken’. As per the report, the proposed law is based on the recommendations made by the Law Commission in the report.
The report submitted to the Law Ministry states that Indian poultry business is greatly driven by the motto of ‘low input – greater output’. The report further points out that eating chicken and egg of a poultry where the chickens are kept in a cage is harmful to human health.
The Law Commission outlines in its report that currently, the chickens get very less space in a cage due to which they are unable to move or even flap their wings. The report also highlights the need to maintain cleanliness and hygiene in the poultry farms.
“The hens used for the production of eggs in the egg industry are reared in small, barren 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 animals are unable to stand up straight or spread their wings without touching the sides of the cage or other hens or turning in a complete circle without any impediment. The floor space available to each hen is approximately 623.7 cm which is almost the area of a sheet of A4 size paper. The most common cages hold 5-10 birds. A typical egg farm in our country contains thousands of cages with tens of thousands of birds, stacked multiple tiers high, lined in multiple rows,” the Law Commission report had said in July last year.
“With a view to curtail the cruel practices of confining birds in battery cages, it is necessary to have a distinction between the produce obtained from healthy farming of hens in cage free environment and the produce obtained from battery cage farming,” it added.
Earlier, the Animal Welfare Board of India had issued show-cause notices to poultry farms using such cages.
A recent survey of 20 poultry farms, by a Pune based NGO Animal Equality, on the outskirts of Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra, Hyderabad and Haryana revealed confining hens in such cages not only leads to a number of deaths, but also leaves them bleeding, with sores, cracked and deformed feet owing to the wired floor of the cages. Some of them were also found to be missing feathers and suffering from abrasions and skin irritations.
Further, a study by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a Central government body in three places (Karnal, Sonipat, and Gurgaon) in the neighbouring Haryana, also revealed that unhygienic poultry farms could lead to sudden outbreak of bacterial, viral, fungal, and communicable diseases like avian influenza, pox, pasteurella, coryza, and aspergillosis