After receiving a letter from PETA India regarding the standard poultry-industry practice of killing male chicks – who are unwanted because they can’t lay eggs – in apparently illegal ways, the Madhya Pradesh Director of Animal Husbandry Dr RK Rokde issued an order to all deputy directors in the districts calling on them to ensure that poultry hatcheries stop using crude killing methods and instead use means recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). The egg and meat industries commonly kill chicks who are weak, male, or otherwise unwanted by grinding, crushing, burning, and drowning them – and even feeding them live to fish.
In our letter to the state government, PETA India pointed out that the commonly used cruel methods of killing unwanted chicks apparently violate Section 11(1)(l) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. We’ve requested that the state’s poultry hatcheries instead methods prescribed by the AWBI – and that the government require the egg industry to use in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it’s available and enforce a ban on the killing of male chicks immediately thereafter. This new technology, which has been developed abroad and will be commercially available soon, would allow for eggs with male embryos to be destroyed in an early stage of development and spare live chicks a horrific death.
According to the report “Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics Madhya Pradesh is one of the top egg-producing states in the country, which makes it especially imperative that it implement in ovo sexing technology as soon as it’s commercially available.
At PETA India’s request, the animal husbandry departments of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have also issued similar orders directing an end to the illegal and cruel methods of killing chicks.
Germany – which has invested €5 million (Rs 400 million) in developing 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.
We request that India’s government follow suit and implement humane practices in the Indian poultry industry.