Seeking to end the alleged practise of culling unwanted chicks by the private poultry industry in Kerala, the state Animal Husbandry department is taking steps including directives to district authorities to crack down on such instances.
The Director of Animal Husbandry of Kerala has issued a directive to district animal husbandry officers on May 23 to take steps to ensure that private hatcheries were not handling unwanted chicks in cruel ways, official sources said. The department took the decision based on a complaint by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Welcoming the decision, PETA India CEO and veterinarian Manilal Valliyate said in a statement, "We're grateful that the Kerala government is calling for a crackdown on the private poultry industry's common cruel and illegal methods of killing unwanted chicks." According to PETA India, the egg industry commonly kills male chicks because they can't lay eggs, while both the meat and egg industries routinely destroy other unwanted chicks as well, including those who are weak or deformed. Common killing methods include grinding, crushing, burning, drowning, or even feeding them alive to fish. In a letter to Valliyate, the Director of Animal Husbandry confirmed that male chicks on government farms were not destroyed in this way.
In its complaint, PETA India had pointed out that the common cruel methods of killing unwanted chicks violated Section 11(1)(l) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The group had requested that the Animal Husbandry department to stop any cruel killing methods practised by poultry hatcheries in the state.
It has suggested that the government use in-ovo sex- determination technology as soon as it was available. "This new technology, which has been developed abroad and will be commercially available soon, would allow eggs with male embryos to be destroyed in an early stage of development and spare live chicks a horrific death", the group said.