Cruel condition of hen coops: Apex court seeks government response

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) The pathetic conditions in which hens are kept, in tiny wire cages without enough space to move around, was raised in the Supreme Court on Friday.

Senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that the manner in which egg-laying hens are caged is cruel and in breach of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

On this, the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought the government’s response on the steps taken for enforcing the rules recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India for keeping hens in cages.

Venugopal said the Animal Welfare Board had recommended the rules on caging of hens in 2010 and 2013 but the government is yet to act on it.

He told the court that in India we are still following the battery caging system – small wire cages – for housing egg-laying hens.

The court was told that the battery caging system was abandoned by the European Union long back.

Under the battery caging system egg-laying hens are provided the space equivalent of an A-4 size sheet, while under the cage-free system that is followed in Europe, the hens get space to move around and spread their wings.

The court was shown photographs of poultry farms where caged hens have not an iota of space to move.

“It is cruel and in violation of the statutory provisions,” Venugopal told the court.

The bench was told that at the time of hatching of chicks it is ascertained which are cocks and they are then put in a bag and suffocated to death. Thereafter the dead chicks are put in a grinder and their meat served as feed to the egg-laying hens.

As the court fixed August 5 as the next date of hearing, Chief Justice Thakur pointed to the poor conditions in which birds were being kept at meat shops.



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