Following an appeal from PETA India, the government of Tripura issued a notification prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and use of gestation and farrowing crates in pig farming.
The notification cites Section 11(1)(e) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits the confinement of any animal to a receptacle that fails to offer a reasonable opportunity for movement, such as gestation and farrowing crates. It also states that these crates are detrimental to the sows’ physical and mental health and make them vulnerable to disease. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Pig has confirmed that confining animals in this way is illegal.
Tripura is the latest of 27 states and union territories to issue directions against the housing of pigs in these contraptions. Other governments that have issued circulars include the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat ,Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, 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 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.
In September, upon PETA India’s request, Tripura issued directions prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and use of glue traps for rodent control. Usually made of plastic trays or sheets of cardboard covered with strong glue, these traps are indiscriminate killers that often ensnare non-target animals, including birds, squirrels, reptiles, and frogs.
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