The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday issued guidelines to be observed by the Centre and the State for humane treatment of poultry animals.
The Bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kr. Tiwari further directed the Centre to consider framing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg Laying Hens) Rules well as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Broiler Chicken) Rules, on the basis of the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India (LCI) in its 269th report within six months.
It ordered, “Ordinarily, this Court will not direct the Union of India for framing of Rules but since, in the present case, the recommendations have already been made by the Law Commission in its 269th Meeting, we deem it fit to request the Union of India to frame the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg Laying Hens) Rules well as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Broiler Chicken) Rules.”
The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Ms. Gauri Maulekhi, demanding prohibition of the usage of battery cage facilities for housing poultry egg-laying hens, and an assurance for closure of all illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses.
She had alleged that provisions of Chapter VII of the Transport of Animal Rules, 1978, which deal with the transport of poultry by rail, road and air, were not being complied with. She had further drawn the attention of the court to the recommendations made by the LCI in its 269th Report, wherein it had taken note of the cruel treatment meted out to hens used for the production of eggs, and had directed,
“With a view to curtail the cruel practices of confining birds in battery cages, it is necessary to have a distinction between the produce obtained from healthy farming of hens in cage-free environment and the produce obtained from battery cage farming. Towards this end, certification by the Animal Husbandry Departments of the States, recognising that the poultry farms follow the practice of cage-free egg farming, is desirable. This would enable the consumer to select the produce obtained from healthy farming and will result in discouraging battery cage farming.”
The LCI had also drafted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Broiler Chicken) Rules, 2017 therein. On enquiry about the formulation of these Rules by the Centre, the Court was informed that they were under process. It then directed the Centre to frame the Rules on the basis of the LCI recommendations. It further issued the following directions: