The Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for banning the use of starvation [PDF] to force egg-laying hens into a molt phase. 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, the AWBI ordered all poultry farms in India to immediately discontinue starvation force molting regimes, stating that the practice is in violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and a punishable offence. AWBI has directed local animal welfare organizations to work alongside law enforcement to ensure the ban is implemented.
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
“Starving hens for weeks on end is nothing less than animal cruelty and has no place in modern agricultural practices,” said Naresh Kadyan, representative of OIPA in India's factory farming campaign in India. “By banning starvation force molting, the AWBI is taking an important step toward protecting farm animals.”
- Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory body of 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.
You can help put an end to one of the most inhumane practices in Indian farming by choosing to buy only cage-free eggs.
Nearly all of India's eggs come from hens in battery cages. Crammed together with five or six others in tiny cages, the hens aren't able to move, stretch their wings or nest. They live their entire lives in a space no bigger than a sheet of notebook paper.
Hens don't have to be caged to produce lots of eggs. There are cage-free alternatives available in grocery stores across the country.
For your health, the environment and to save these hens from a life of cruelty, it is time to switch to compassionate and sustainable eating. Join the growing number of Indians who at home, at school, at work or at the grocery store -- are taking the Cage-Free Pledge!