After being notified by PETA India that a poultry farmer in Dahanu, Palghar district, reportedly buried nearly 2 lakh chickens alive in response to coronavirus fears, Maharashtra Commissioner of Animal Husbandry Shri Sachindra Pratap Singh issued a directive to the Regional Assistant Commissioner of Animal Husbandry, Mumbai region, instructing him to visit the incident site personally, conduct a detailed inspection, and take immediate action as required under the provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and other relevant laws. The Commissioner’s order also asks for a report on the action taken.
The directive also refers to an earlier order, dated 12 March 2020, in which the department directed that unwanted chicks hatched in the state’s poultry hatcheries should be only as per the recommendations of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and that all precautions must be taken to ensure that the PCA Act, 1960, isn’t violated. PETA India previously exposed that unwanted chicks – such as males in the egg industry, since they can’t lay eggs – are killed in a variety of hideous ways, including by burning, drowning, or grinding or by being fed alive to fish.
In its letter urging the Department of Animal Husbandry of Maharashtra to act, PETA India explained that burying birds alive is an apparent violation of Sections 3 and 11 of the PCA Act, 1960, and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, a fine, or both.
The department was also requested to encourage the use of humane mass killing methods that minimise suffering, as recommended by the AWBI and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
India ranks third in the world for egg production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. France, Switzerland, and Germany – which has invested €5 million in sex-determination technology – have all taken steps to ban the shredding of live male chicks, which is commonly practised in those countries. Sex-determination 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.
What You Can Do
The best way to help chickens raised for food is to leave them off your plate.