Following numerous appeals from PETA India regarding the common poultry industry practice of killing male chicks (because they can’t lay eggs) and other unwanted chicks in apparently illegal ways, the director general of Haryana’s Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying has issued an order to all district deputy directors to ensure that poultry hatcheries stop using crude 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, too, including ones who are weak or deformed. Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, or drowning them – or even feeding them while still alive to fish.
In our appeals, we pointed out that the common cruel methods of killing unwanted chicks violate Section 11(1)(l) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. We have requested that Haryana’s Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying end any cruel killing methods practised by poultry hatcheries in the state. We also requested 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 killing male chicks immediately thereafter. This new technology – which was developed abroad and will be commercially available soon – would allow eggs with male embryos to be destroyed at an early stage of development and spare live chicks a horrific death.
According to the 2019 report on Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics released by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Haryana is one of the top egg-producing states in the country – making 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 Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh issued similar orders directing an end to illegal and cruel practices of killing chicks.
Germany – which has invested €5 million (Rs 400 million) in sex-determination technology – as well as France and Switzerland have all taken steps towards banning the shredding of live male chicks, which is commonly practised abroad.
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