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March 28, 2011

MLA Shri. Ramalinga Reddy Urges Hon’ble Chief Minister to Ensure Starvation Force Molting of Laying Hens is Discontinued

Humane Society International/India

Bengaluru—Veteran statesman and Member of Legislative Assembly Shri. Ramalinga Reddy has urged the chief minister of Karnataka and the minster of animal husbandry to ensure that all egg-laying farms in the state discontinue starvation force molt regimes, in accordance with a recent order by the Animal Welfare Board of India.

On March 9, the Animal Welfare Board of India ordered all poultry farms to immediately discontinue starvation force molt regimes, stating that the practice is in violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and a punishable offence.

“I am saddened to learn that starvation force molt regimes are widely used in layer farms in Karnataka,” said Shri. Ramalinga Reddy in his letter to the chief minister and the minister of animal husbandry.

Starvation force molting, widely practiced in egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food in order to rejuvenate their reproductive tracts and stimulate additional cycles of egg production.

Under starvation force molting regimes, food is often withheld for up to 14 days and may be combined with 1-2 days of water deprivation. During a force molt, hens suffer greatly and may lose up to 35 percent of their body weight. This practice of food withdrawal has been widely questioned throughout the world and is already prohibited in Australia and the European Union, and prohibited in the United States by the egg industry’s animal husbandry program.

“We are grateful to Honorable Shri. Ramalinga Reddy ji, and we hope that the government of Karnataka ensures that hens are not starved in layer farms,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI’s factory farming campaign in India. “We are happy to work with the government to bring much-needed animal welfare reforms to the poultry industry.”

Facts

  • Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory body of the government of India, constituted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. At present, the AWBI is working under the aegis of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
  • Forced starvation molting dramatically increases the risk of hens' laying salmonella-infected eggs.
  • India’s ban on starvation force molting comes on the heels of a growing movement against battery cage egg production and farm animal cruelty within the country.
  • 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.
  • Hotels including Crowne Plaza Today-Gurgaon, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, as well as specialty restaurant Hao Shi Nian Nian and celebrity Chef Mako Ravindran have ended their procurement of eggs from caged hens.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—On the Web at hsi.org.

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