PETA India Urges Maharashtra Government to Stop Use of Cruel and Illegal Methods of Killing Unwanted Poultry

For Immediate Release:
12 March 2020


Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Radhika Suryavanshi; [email protected]

Nearly 2 Lakh Birds Were Buried Alive by a Farmer in the State in Anticipation of Business Losses

Mumbai – Today, following reports that a poultry farmer buried nearly 2 lakh birds alive in response to coronavirus fears, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off a letter to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying of Maharashtra asking it to issue directions immediately to stop the use of cruel and illegal methods of killing unwanted birds. To ensure that animals do not experience unnecessary distress, pain, and suffering, the group is urging the department to promote the use of methods for the mass killing of animals recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) – the central government’s advisory body – and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the intergovernmental authority responsible for improving animal health worldwide, of which India is a member.

The group cautions that crude killing methods such as burying birds alive are apparent violations of Sections 3 and 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, which are punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, a fine, or both.

A copy of PETA India’s letter to the department is available upon request.

The group is also urging the central government to issue directives to state governments and union territories requiring them to prohibit the cruel methods that are currently used by hatcheries to kill unwanted male chicks and by poultry farms to kill birds – including crushing, drowning, burning, and burying the animals – as they violate the PCA Act, 1960, and the Indian Penal Code.

“The gruesome killing of thousands of chickens simply because they won’t generate a profit is cruel and must be stopped,” says PETA India CEO and veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate. “This farmer’s barbaric act is a stark reminder for the public that, whether they’re buried alive or their throats are slit, chickens are always killed cruelly and that poultry farms are breeding grounds for bird flu and other diseases. Chickens used for eggs are commonly mutilated, starved, and intensely confined, while those used for meat are kept in filthy sheds and bred to grow so large that they often break bones and suffer heart attacks. We urge the public to spare chickens misery and safeguard their own health by always choosing to eat vegan.”

A slow death by suffocation through a live burial causes birds unnecessary pain and suffering. The AWBI issued advisories in 2012 and 2014 regarding the adoption of OIE guidelines for the mass killing of animals for disease control purposes. As India is a member of the OIE and animal husbandry is a state matter under the Indian constitution, all state governments are obliged to adhere to the guidelines under Chapter 7.6 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The code states that these general principles should also apply when animals are killed in other situations, such as after natural disasters or to cull their populations.

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