On March 2, 2017, the Law Commission of India received a reference from the Ministry of Law and Justice asking the Commission to conduct a detailed study on the existing laws and international practices on the transport and housekeeping of poultry birds. The Law Commission in Report No. 269 titled ‘Transportation and House-keeping of Egg-laying hens (layers) and Broiler Chickens’ has examined the issues pertaining to both the layers and broilers. Specifically in layer birds, the issues relate to disposal of male chicks and housing of egg laying hens. In case of broilers, the issue of trait selection, housing, transport and slaughter of the birds, have been examined.

This report concludes with two set of draft rules, the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg laying Hens) Rules, 2017’ and ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Broiler Chickens) Rules, 2017’.

The Commission has also taken into consideration the information given by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals on the conditions of poultry in India. The very idea of having this report is to put an end to the cruel practices of confining birds in battery cages. For this, the Commission recommends certification of poultry farms by the Animal Husbandry Departments of the State.

The revised draft rules delineate space requirements for feeders, drinking spaces and floor area and other key resources to ensure good management of the system. Important animal welfare provisions like when and how to carry out euthanasia of sick and injured animals are also incorporated in the draft rules. These rules have been recommended keeping in view the constitutional provisions and the objective of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Also, the Commission notes that keeping in view both health and welfare of people and avoidance of pain and suffering to animals, punishment to all offences under the Act need to be appropriately revised. There are three annexures to the report containing the draft rules and the summary of responses from various stakeholders.

To read Report No. 269, click HERE

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