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June 23, 2011

Chandigarh Administration Orders Inspection of All Egg-Laying Poultry Farms to Ensure Hens are Not Starved to Induce Molt

Humane Society International

CHANDIGARH, India—The Chandigarh Administration’s Director of Animal Husbandry has directed state veterinary officers, the SPCA, and People for Animals-Chandigarh to inspect all egg laying farms for compliance with the Animal Welfare Board of India’s order against starvation force molt regimes.

In March, the Animal Welfare Board of India confirmed that starvation force molting is a punishable offence under India's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and ordered all egg production facilities to immediately discontinue the practice.

“We are grateful to the Chandigarh Administration for its request of the state’s veterinary officers and animal welfare organizations to conduct regular inspections of egg laying farms,” said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI's factory farming campaign in India. “Farmers who continue to starve birds to induce molting must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.”

HSI urges anyone with information about a farm inducing molting by starvation to email this confidential drop box: starvinghens@hsi.org

Copies of the Administration’s order are available on request.

Facts:

  • Starvation force molting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food for up to 14 days and may be combined with one to two days of water deprivation, in order to manipulate their egg-laying cycle.
  • During a forced 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 prohibited in Australia, the European Union, and the United States, under the American egg industry's animal husbandry program.
  • Starvation force molting dramatically increases the risk of hens' laying salmonella-infected eggs.
  • The Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare Laws in Maharashtra has directed Maharashtra’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries to ensure that all egg producers and integrators discontinue starvation force molting.
  • The Joint Secretary of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Karnataka, has directed all egg producers in the state to discontinue starvation force molting.
  • The orders against starvation force molting come on the heels of a growing movement against battery cage egg production and farm animal cruelty. 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.

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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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