Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board Encourages Adoption of Modern and Legal Methods for Handling Unwanted Chicks by Poultry Industry

For Immediate Release:
28 July 2020

Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

The Board’s Action Follows Complaint by PETA India

Dehradun – Following appeals from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India regarding the common poultry industry practice of killing male chicks and other unwanted ones in apparently illegal ways, the Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board issued an order urging all the chief veterinary officers and officials of the district Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to encourage the poultry industry to adopt modern and legal methods of euthanising chicks in compliance with The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and as recommended by the Law Commission of India (LCI) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The board also asked officials to create public awareness of the recommended methods of handling unwanted chicks. 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 as well, including those who are weak or deformed. Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, drowning, and even feeding them alive to fish.

A copy of the board’s order is 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 PCA Act, 1960. The group requested that the state stop any cruel killing methods practised by poultry hatcheries and that the government require the egg industry to use in ovo sex-determination technology as soon as it becomes available. This new 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.

A report on and video footage and photographs of the killing of chicks in India are available upon request.

“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 Uttarakhand government for encouraging the adoption of methods recommended by the LCI and OIE for handling unwanted chicks. Members of the public who are concerned about these animals can help by choosing to eat vegan.”

At PETA India’s urging, the governments of Assam, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh have set an example by committing to implementing in ovo sexing technology, once commercially available, to stop the killing of male chicks altogether. Like Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu have also issued orders directing an end to illegal and cruel practices for killing chicks, advising that if needed, alternative methods recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India, the LCI, and the OIE for handling unwanted chicks be adopted.

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.