Chickens farms in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are subjecting the birds to “routine cruelty” by keeping them in battery cages, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal (PETA) said on Thursday. PETA said these cages are in violation of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) advisory to phase them out by 2017.
They also released a report and a set of videos online showing the alleged cruelty to the birds in chicken farms in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh farms.
PETA claims that battery cages are the most common housing method for chickens bred for eggs in the country. The AWBI have said these cages are illegal and advised states to phase them out by 2017. However, the cages are still in use despite a Uttarakhand High Court order in 2018 banning them, but allowing other types of cages.
"Stuffing maimed hens into cages so tiny they can't even spread a wing and their muscles and bones deteriorate before they're forced to endure a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse is unacceptable," says PETA India Associate Director of Policy Nikunj Sharma in a press release. "PETA India is calling on all kinds people to reject this cruelty by keeping chicken flesh and eggs off their plates," he added.
PETA says the egg farmers artificially inseminate hens repeatedly. Unwanted chicks, mostly males, are burned, drowned, crushed, ground up, suffocated, or thrown into the water on fish farms to be eaten. Some farms also starve the chickens in a process called "forced moulting" in order to shock their bodies into another egg-laying cycle. Forced moulting was also declared illegal by the AWBI.
After the hens stop producing eggs, workers pack them into crowded trucks, and many don't survive the trip to the slaughterhouse. Many of the industry standards were declared violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, by the AWBI and are against proposed draft laws for the sector, according to PETA.
Companies whose practices are described in PETA India's report include The Diamond Group, Mulpuri Group, Sakku Group, SH Group, Skylark Hatcheries, SR Group, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Poultry Farms Private Limited, Suguna Foods, and Venkateshwara Hatcheries Private Limited.
The National Egg Coordination Committee, Business Manager, Sanjeev Chintawar responded to the PETA videos by saying, “The matter with regard to the use of the battery cages is in Delhi High Court, we don't want to discuss on this.” He was referring to the petition filed by Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), another animal rights organisation against the use of battery cages by the industry being heard in the Delhi High Court, “PETA should work on giving better living conditions to the public and focus on the welfare of human beings first,”. Sanjeev is also a member of the Telangana Poultry Breeders Federation.