Raj to crack down on poultry industry over chick-killing methods

The Rajasthan government will soon start taking action against poultry hatcheries using crude methods to kill chicks. The Deputy Director of animal husbandry on June 16 issued an order stating that killing chicks using crude methods is a clear violation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and is a punishable offence under it.

The order urged district animal husbandry officers to take steps to ensure that poultry hatcheries stop cruel chick-killing methods and recommended the adoption of nitrogen or inert gas methods prescribed by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Law Commission of India (LCI). The animal husbandry department issued the order following appeals from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.

PETA India raised the issue of the poultry industry killing male and other unwanted chicks using cruel and illegal methods.

The egg industry commonly kills male chicks because they can’t lay eggs, while both the meat and egg industries routinely destroy other unwanted chicks, including those who are weak or deformed, PETA pointed out.

Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, drowning and even feeding them alive to fish, the group said in its appeal. PETA India pointed out that the commonly used cruel methods of killing unwanted chicks violate Section 11(1)(l) of The PCA Act, 1960. The group has requested that the animal husbandry department stop these methods practiced by poultry hatcheries in the state and that the government require the egg industry to use in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it becomes available.

This new technology, which was developed abroad and will be commercially available soon, would allow eggs containing male embryos to be destroyed in an early stage of development and spare live chicks a horrific death.”The gruesome killing of countless male chicks simply because they can’t lay eggs is cruel and should be stopped,” PETA India CEO and veterinarian Manilal Valliyate said.

“We’re grateful that the Rajasthan government is calling for a crackdown on the poultry industry’s commonly used cruel and illegal methods of killing unwanted chicks. Members of the public who are concerned about these animals can help them by choosing to eat vegan.”

According to the 2019 report on basic animal husbandry statistics released by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Rajasthan is one of the major egg-producing states in the country — making it especially imperative that it implement in ovo sexing technology as soon as it’s commercially available.

PETA India claims that the animal husbandry departments of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have also issued similar orders on its appeal directing an end to illegal and cruel chick-killing practices.

Germany, as well as France and Switzerland have taken steps towards banning the shredding of live male chicks, which is commonly practised abroad.