Following an appeal by PETA India and Humane Society International to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of gestation and farrowing crates in pig farming, the director general of animal husbandry and dairying of Haryana has circulated an order instructing the deputy directors cum secretaries of the societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals of all districts to comply with the law that mandates this prohibition.
The circular cites Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits the confinement of any animal in a receptacle that fails to offer a reasonable opportunity for movement, such as gestation and farrowing crates. The circular reiterates that neither gestation nor farrowing crates are permissible in pig farming and that they contribute to sores and diseases in sows. That confining animals in this way is illegal is a position confirmed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Pig.
Haryana is among the 23 states and union territories that have issued directions against the housing of pigs in these contraptions. The other governments that have issued circulars are those of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
Gestation crates (aka “sow stalls”) are metal cages, essentially the size of a pig, with concrete or slatted floors. In them, pigs are unable to turn around or even stand up without difficulty. These devices confine pregnant sows, who are typically transferred to farrowing crates to give birth and are kept in them until their piglets are taken away. Farrowing crates are fundamentally the same as gestation crates, except that they contain small side compartments for piglets.
Gestation and farrowing crates deny mother pigs everything that’s natural and important to them, such as opportunities to forage, build a nest for their young, socialise with other pigs, and regulate their body temperature (such as by wallowing in mud). The extreme stress and frustration caused by this severe confinement results in abnormal behaviour, such as continually biting at the enclosure bars or “chewing” the air.
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