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Government of Rajasthan Directs Egg Producers to Discontinue Starvation Force Molting of Laying Hens

Jaipur, India (20 July 2011)-The Director of Animal Husbandry for the Government of Rajasthan has directed the state's veterinary officers, all district SPCAs, and all district collectors to ensure that the state's egg producers comply with the Animal Welfare Board of India's order to immediately discontinue starvation force molting regimes.

In March, the Animal Welfare Board of India confirmed that starvation force molting is a punishable offence under India's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, and ordered all egg production facilities to immediately discontinue the practice.

"We are grateful to the Government of Rajasthan and we hope that egg laying farms comply with this order" said N.G. Jayasimha, manager of HSI's factory farming campaign in India. "Egg producers who continue to starve birds to induce molt must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act."

HSI urges anyone with information about a farm inducing molting by starvation to email this confidential drop box: starvinghens@hsi.org

Copies of the Administration's order are available on request.

Facts:

. Starvation force molting, widely practiced on egg production facilities throughout India, deprives egg-laying hens of food for up to 14 days and may be combined with one to two days of water deprivation, in order to manipulate their egg laying cycle.

. During a forced molt, hens suffer greatly and may lose up to 35 percent of their body weight. This practice of food withdrawal has been widely questioned throughout the world and is prohibited in Australia, the European Union, and the United States, under the American egg industry's animal husbandry program.

. Starvation force molting dramatically increases the risk of hens' laying salmonella-infected eggs.

. The Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare Laws in Maharashtra has directed Maharashtra's Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries to ensure that all egg producers and integrators discontinue starvation force molting.

. The Joint Secretary of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, Government of Karnataka, has directed all egg producers in the state to discontinue starvation force molting.

. The Director of Animal Husbandry for the Government of Goa has directed the state's veterinary officers and the North and South Goa SPCAs to ensure egg producers discontinue starvation force molting.

. The Chandigarh Administration's Director of Animal Husbandry has requested state veterinary officers, the SPCA, and People for Animals-Chandigarh to inspect all egg laying farms and ensure compliance with the order against starvation force molting.

. The order against starvation force molting comes on the heels of a growing movement against battery cage egg production and farm animal cruelty. India's factory farms confine 140 to 200 million hens in barren battery cages, where each bird lives within a space smaller than a single standard sized sheet of paper.

Media Contact: N.G.Jayasimha: (0)9490732614  ngjayasimha@hsi.org

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations-backed by 11 million people. HSI fights for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. On the web at https://webmail.hsus.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.hsi.org/

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