An investigator from Anonymous for Animal Rights (now called Animals Now) visited farms and hatcheries throughout Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where most of India’s egg production and much of its chicken-meat production takes place, and gave the inspection material to PETA India. Many of the facilities visited belong to companies that are prominent names in the egg and meat industries, suggesting that the abuse seen at these facilities is common industry practice across the country.
Read the report, and watch video footage of the investigation here:
Hens aren’t unfeeling machines, yet that’s how they’re treated by the egg industry. When birds to be used for eggs are just a few days old, workers heat up blades and – without administering any painkillers – cut off a large portion of their beaks since they peck each other out of frustration in cramped cages, rather than simply giving them more space. This gruesome act can impair the birds’ ability to consume food and groom their feathers.
Hens are wonderful, fascinating animals – they even communicate with their unhatched babies. But those exploited by the egg and meat industries don’t get to incubate or meet their young. Instead, farmers crudely artificially inseminate them with syringes that aren’t sanitised between animals and steal the birds’ eggs. Their chicks are hatched in mechanical incubators, which can malfunction and cause birth defects. Female chicks are doomed to endure the same misery as their mothers, but the egg industry rejects males since they can’t lay eggs, and sick, deformed, and “low-grade” chicks are rejected by both the egg and meat industries. These baby birds are killed soon after hatching. Different facilities do this in different ways. Some set live chicks on fire, and others drown them, toss them into rubbish bins, grind them up, or feed the live babies to fish.
Hens used for their eggs and flesh are often confined to wire “battery“ cages that are covered in faeces and so cramped that the birds can’t even stretch out a wing. These naturally clean animals have no choice but to urinate and defecate on one another, creating ideal conditions for the spread of disease. In order to address this problem, chickens housed in such appallingly unhygienic ways are commonly pumped full of antibiotics. Still, many birds don’t survive these atrocious conditions. Those who do must often live alongside their cagemates’ rotting carcasses. One facility even stooped so low as to implement forced moulting, which typically involves starving hens in order to shock their bodies into starting another egg-laying cycle so that the company can make more money. Many hens lose all their feathers and much of their bodyweight, and some even die.
Once hens stop producing eggs – which usually happens when they’re under 2 years old – workers violently yank them out of their cages (often by their wings), pile the worn-out birds onto trucks, and ship them to the slaughterhouse. Since the egg industry doesn’t care about hens’ well-being, the transportation conditions are often miserable, and many chickens don’t survive the trip. The others’ lives end when a dull blade is dragged across their throats in front of their companions. These sensitive individuals die never having had the chance to walk on the soft grass, feel sunlight, or play.
You Can Help Hens!
Eating eggs and chicken flesh inevitably causes hens immense pain and suffering and sentences chickens to death.
Please add your voice to our effort to help them by signing the appeal below, which will be collected and sent to the Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
I am deeply disturbed and saddened at hearing about the plight of hens used for their eggs in India. This sort of systemic violence and torture should not be inflicted upon any species.
Hens are locked into inhumanely small, crowded battery cages where they can’t even spread a wing and often peck at one another out of sheer frustration. Egg facilities often starve hens to shock them into another laying cycle, and male chicks, who are considered undesirable by the egg industry, along with other unwanted chicks are cruelly killed by methods such as drowning, burning, and crushing. When their egg production wanes, the hens are thrown into trucks and driven to slaughterhouses, where they’re killed in full view of their companions.
These animals desperately need your help. I ask you to use your authority to require that the provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code are enforced to take action against illegal killing of chicks. At the very least, I request that in ovo sexing technology – which can identify eggs with male embryos at an early stage of development, thus sparing chicks a horrific death – be implemented in India.
I also sincerely plead with you to urge egg companies to heed the 16 February 2012 circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), which clearly states that confining hens to battery cages violates Section 11(1)(e) of the PCA Act, 1960.
As part of providing the birds with more space, please stop debeaking. It’s an apparent violation of Sections 3 and 11(1)(l) of the PCA Act, 1960.
Also, I ask that egg companies be required to heed the AWBI advisory dated 9 March 2011, which states that depriving hens of feed for several days amounts to cruelty to animals under the PCA Act, 1960, and is therefore a punishable offence.
No one deserves to be tortured, mutilated, and abused – so please ensure that hens and chicks don’t suffer in this manner.