Following an appeal from PETA India regarding the common poultry industry practice of killing male chicks and other unwanted chicks in apparently illegal ways, the director of animal husbandry of the Jammu region issued an order stating that killing chicks using crude methods is a violation of The Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and a punishable offence under this Act. Accordingly, the order urged chief animal husbandry officers to take steps to ensure that poultry hatcheries stop using any cruel chick-killing 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 as well, including those who are weak or deformed. Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, or drowning them or even feeding them alive to fish.
In our appeal, we pointed out that the common cruel methods of killing unwanted chicks violate Section 11(1)(l) of the PCA Act, 1960. In addition to requesting a ban on cruel chick-killing methods, we urged the government to implement in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it’s available. This new technology, which has been developed abroad and will be commercially available soon, would allow eggs with male embryos to be destroyed in an early stage of development and spare live chicks a horrific death.
The animal husbandry departments of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have also issued orders directing an end to illegal and cruel practices for killing chicks. At PETA India’s urging, the governments of Bihar and Chhattisgarh have set an example by committing to implement in ovo sexing technology once it’s commercially available to end the killing of male chicks altogether.
Germany – which has invested €5 million (Rs 400 million) in sex-determination technology – as well as France and Switzerland have taken steps towards banning the shredding of live male chicks, which is commonly practised abroad.