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October 8, 2013

Swami Agnivesh Urges Minister of Environment and Forests to End Battery Cages in India

Humane Society International/India

  • The Government of India should immediately establish clear timelines to phase out the use of barren battery cages in Indian poultry farms. Erin Van Voorhies

NEW DELHI — President of World Council of Arya Samaj, Swami Agnivesh, is urging Minister of Environment and Forests to discontinue the extreme confinement of egg-laying hens in so-called barren ‘battery’ cages in India.

In a two-page letter addressed to Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, Agnivesh, the social activist who is best known for his work with the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, decries the egg industry’s inhumane confinement of hens and urges the government to phase out barren battery cages:

“An overwhelming majority of hens used in the egg industry are consigned to barren battery cages, which are so small that each bird is given a space no larger than A4 size sheet of paper. The battery cages prevent all forms of natural behaviors, such as nesting, perching and roosting, scratching and foraging, exercising and spreading their wings. I urge the Government of India to ban such a barbaric practice of confining egg laying hens.” 

The Animal Welfare Board of India has issued a directive that the practice of confining hens in barren battery cages clearly violates the provisions of Section 11(1) (e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The provisions require that animals confined to cages be provided with reasonable opportunity for movement. Further, the confinement of hens in overcrowded and unhygienic battery cages facilitates the immune suppression in birds, providing a breeding ground for foodborne diseases like Salmonella.

N. G. Jayasimha, HSI/India managing director, states: “We encourage the Government of India to move the Indian poultry industry towards being a global leader in animal welfare. They should immediately establish clear timelines to phase out the use of barren battery cages in Indian poultry farms.”


  • Indian factory farms confine approximately 200 million hens in barren battery cages. Each bird lives within a space smaller than a single sheet of paper for more than a year before she’s slaughtered.
  • HSI supports sustainable farmers in their efforts to reach discriminating consumers with more humanely raised food options.
  • Factory farms that confine more than 50,000 birds within a single shed are increasingly common in India.
  • Cage-free hens have more space and are able to walk, fully spread their wings, and lay their eggs in nests – all behaviors denied to hens confined in barren battery cages
  • The European Union has banned barren battery cages, effective 2012.


Media Contact: N.G Jayasimha: 91-9490732614; ngjayasimha@hsi.org

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

Arya Samaj is a Hindu Reform movement founded by Swami Dayananda in 1875. The Arya Samaj is known for its advocacy of social equity among men and women and also worked for the upliftment of women in general. Swami Agnivesh is an Indian politician and Arya Samaj scholar who founded the World Council of Arya Samaj and also served as the chairperson of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery from 1994 to 2004.

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