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Hens kept in cruel conditions in Doon's poultry farms

Dehradun, Aug. 23 -- Hens are arguably the world's most abused animals. Keeping egg laying hens in unnatural confinement as is done in large scale egg producing farms has been termed an offence under the Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The Act clearly states that, if a person keeps or confines any animal in any cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement, it shall be punishable under law. But the reality has been exposed by an inspection conducted by a team appointed by the Uttarakhand Government which includes the Chief Veterinary Officer, a member of the Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board and co-opted member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Gauri Maulekhi.The poultry farms where egg laying hens are kept may house lakhs of birds and some of the farms inspected today by the team revealed that a single bird during its life of about one and a half years is allowed less space than an A4 size paper sheet.The bird is never able to spread its wings, or walk, forage, perch or express any natural tendencies due to the extreme confinement. These birds are also debeaked as they might turn cannibalistic due to overcrowding, stress and lack of hygiene.The wire cages where they are confined are so small that two birds placed side by side cannot even sit down to lay an egg.The wire mesh causes their bodies to get bruised and their feathers to fall untimely. Their claws get swollen due to the lifelong contact of metal and constant standing. They develop sores and gaping wounds on their bodies, which are disregarded by the farm owners so long as theegg production is high.It has been observed at some farms that were inspected that some birds were lying trapped in the mesh of their tiny cages, while the owners were oblivious to their extreme agony. In some places, dead birds were kept alongside the crates of eggs, and these carcasses may land up in the market as a byproduct of the gruesome trade.The filth in these farms was unparallelled. The litter of thousands of birds gathers in huge piles all across the premises, emitting noxious fumes and intolerable stench. The neighborhood of these farms is no more an inhabitable place so long as birds are continued to be kept in such abominably large numbers and such horrific confinement that easily puts the Nazis or the Taliban to shame when it comes to inflicting cruelty.The farms in Haridwar will be inspected soon and the report shall be submitted with the Uttarakhand Government for further action....

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