The Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association (KPFBA) urged the Government of India to immediately drop the latest notification — ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (egg-laying hens) Rules 2019’ — saying it would have an adverse impact on the entire poultry sector in the country.
The members of the association alleged that the government was heeding the advice of animal welfare NGOs who have little knowledge about poultry farming.
As per the new rules, the size of cages at poultry farms should not be less than 550 sq cm per bird and 6-8 birds per cage. It also regulated the use of antibiotics only for therapeutic use and under the supervision of a veterinarian, and called for regular inspection of poultry farms by authorised personnel who should follow proper bio-security protocols.
The poultry sector has been given five years to switch over to new systems.
“The parameters recommended regarding space requirement, behavioural needs and other welfare concerns are based on studies conducted in the European Union nations, which are not relevant to India. NGOs which have lobbied for a ban of cages have painted a wrong picture of the poultry sector.
Healthy birds mean healthy business for poultry farmers and they have been continuously improving practices in farms to maintain hygiene and other conditions. Bird losses for a farmer mean loss of livelihood,” said Prof. G Devegowda, vice-president of the World Poultry Science Association (India Branch).