Assam Takes Steps to End Male Chick–Killing by Egg Industry  

For Immediate Release:
28 July 2020

Contact:
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Monica Chopra; [email protected]

Following Complaint by PETA India, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department Issues Order 

Guwahati – Following appeals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India regarding the common poultry industry practice of killing male and other unwanted chicks in illegal ways, the director of Assam’s animal husbandry and veterinary department issued directions to all poultry hatcheries in the state to stop using any cruel and illegal chick-killing methods and made a pioneering policy decision that once in ovo sex-determination technology – which identifies male embryos at an early stage of development so that an egg, rather than a live bird, can be destroyed – is commercially available in India, the killing of male chicks must be stopped.

Currently, 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, including those who are weak or deformed. Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, or drowning them and even feeding them alive to fish.

A copy of the director’s order, video footage and photographs of the killing of chicks in India as well as a report on it are available upon request.

In its appeals, PETA India 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. The group requested that the state stop any cruel killing methods practised by poultry hatcheries and that the government require that the egg industry use in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it becomes available. This new technology is being developed abroad and will be commercially available soon.

“The gruesome killing of countless male chicks simply because they can’t lay eggs is cruel and should be stopped,” says PETA India Senior Advocacy Officer Harshil Maheshwari. “We’re grateful to the Assam government for recognising that this cruel killing must end and for setting a benchmark for all the other states and union territories in the country to follow.”

At PETA India’s urging, the animal husbandry departments of Bihar and Chhattisgarh have also supported the use of in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it’s available to stop the killing of male chicks. Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu have issued similar orders directing an end to current illegal and cruel chick-killing practices.

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.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.

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