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June 21, 2011

Government of Nagaland Directs Egg Farms to End Starvation Force Molting of Laying Hens

Humane Society International

KOHIMA—The Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry for the Government of Nagaland has directed all egg producers in the state to stop starving laying hens to force them into a molt. This development follows the March 2011 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 is a punishable offence.

“Humane Society International is grateful to the government of Nagaland," said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI's factory farming campaign in India. “Farmers who continue to starve birds to induce molt should be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.”

Starvation force molting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food in order to manipulate their laying cycles. Food is often withheld for up to 14 days and may be combined with one or two 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 come 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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