ACT NOW! 20 days to help our egg-laying hens!
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Can you imagine living in a space that is less than the size of an A4 sheet of paper for your entire life? or being crammed into a small cage with at least 6 other people who are all about the same size as you.
This is the life of most egg-laying hens in India. Over 46 crore hens, used for egg production, are confined to battery cages for their entire lives. Battery cages are barren-wire cages that are stacked next to each other in an arrangement like batteries. The birds are starved for space to the extent that they are unable to even spread their wings or turn around without hindrance.
Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, makes it a punishable offence to confine any animal (including hens) in a space that does not give them a reasonable opportunity of movement. Despite this, all of India’s commercial egg production comes from battery cage facilities where these birds suffer constant confinement in these miserable cages.
The 46 crore egg-laying hens in our country will continue to suffer this fate if the legislation proposed by the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, titled “The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg Laying Hens) Rules, 2019” comes into force! And this will happen on the 29th of June! We must stop this!
Sign this petition asking the Ministry of Agriculture to stop these rules from coming into force. The new draft rules only increase the space given to these birds by a small amount, so instead of 10 birds in a cage, there will be 8. This is still overcrowding!
There is also no provision of resources to allow the birds to exhibit their natural behaviour such as nesting, perching, roosting, scratching and foraging. Science has shown that preventing these birds from expressing their natural behaviour affects their physical and mental health.
The Animal Welfare Board of India, in 2012, noted that the use of battery cages is a violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which aims to prevent pain & suffering of all animals. The Ministry of Environment & Forest, in 2013, directed the implementation of the AWBI’s advice to phase out of the use of battery cages by 2017. However, there has no implementation.
Since then, the Law Commission of India has recommended draft rules that provide some standards for rearing & housing laying hens that would alleviate their suffering.
These cages have a negative effect not only the animal’s health and welfare, but the environment and public health as well!
The Delhi High Court, which is hearing petitions in this regard, has already prohibited the establishment of new battery cage facilities across the country; further, it specifically directed the Government of India to consider the constitutional provisions for animal welfare.
However, the Government proposed a legislation that completely neglects the orders of the Court and does nothing to improve the lives of millions of these birds. In fact, the proposed rules only legitimise the use of battery cages which is clearly prohibited the PCA Act.
According to the notification of proposed rules issued by the DADF on 29.04.2019, which are only applicable to battery cage facilities, the required space allowance is 550 sq cm- still less space than on an A4 sheet of paper! With a minimum of 6-8 birds in one cage- which means instead of crowding each cage with 10 birds, each cage will be crowded with 8 birds. A provision that will be impossible to implement, and even for this, the industry is allowed until 2025 to ensure compliance.
The Government of India must ensure the phase-out of battery cages, especially when more humane and commercially viable alternative systems are available/being used. The Law Commission’s recommended Rules [Report No. 269, dated July, 2017] consider science, animal welfare, public health and the environment and must be notified instead.
Stand up for our egg-laying hens because they can’t. No, literally. There is no space for them to stand up!
Let’s get the Government of India to help the hens. Sign and share this petition to ask the Ministry of Agriculture to give the hens space enough to at least fully spread their wings.
#EndBatteryCages because #HensAreNotBatteries.
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