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May 12, 2011

Government of Karnataka Directs Layer Farm Owners To Discontinue Starvation Force Molting Of Laying Hens

Humane Society International/India

BENGALURU—The Joint Secretary of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Karnataka, has directed all egg producers in the state to stop starving laying hens to force them into a molt. This Direct Order follows the order of the Animal Welfare Board of India, which directed all poultry farms in the country 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.

The managing director of the Karnataka Cooperative Poultry Federation has also issued a circular reiterating the directions of the state government and the Animal Welfare Board of India.

“We are grateful to the government of Karnataka and we hope that the poultry farmers follow these directions,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI’s factory farming campaign in India. “Farmers who continue to starve birds to induce molt must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.”

Last month, Member of the Legislative Assembly Shri. Ramalinga Reddy had 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 the order by the Animal Welfare Board of India.

Starvation force molting, widely practiced on 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. 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.


  • Starvation force molting dramatically increases the risk of hens' laying salmonella-infected eggs.
  • These actions against 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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