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High court notice to centre, states on plight of hens

Posted on Mar 07 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, March 7 : The plight of egg-laying hens, confined to battery cages no bigger than A-4 size paper, has caught the attention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court Friday issued notice to the centre, Punjab and Haryana governments, Poultry Federation of India and the Animal Welfare Board of India to end this cruel practice.

The notice was issued by a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Arun Palli on a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations.

Alleging cruelty to the birds, the federation petitioned against the practice of confining egg-laying hens in battery cages.

The federation claimed that poultry farms confine over 200 million hens in barren battery cages.

"Each bird lives within a space smaller than a single sheet of paper for more than a year before she's slaughtered," it said in the petition.

India is the third largest producer of eggs in the world. At least 70 percent of the eggs come from commercial farmers who confine their hens to barren battery cages, the federation said.

"This clearly violates the provisions of Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which requires that animals confined to cages be provided with reasonable opportunity for movement," the petition stated.

The Animal Welfare Board of India, over one year back, issued an advisory to all state governments stating that battery cages should not be used and existing ones should be phased out.

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