Shocked SC asks Centre to stick to rules on caging hens

The Board had submitted that hens are kept in wire cages in overcrowded condition and there is hardly any space for the movement of the birds.

Published: 05th August 2016 06:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th August 2016 03:31 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the cruelty of keeping egg-lying hens in wire cages in poultry farms, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to implement the rules recommended by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) soon. A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur was shocked to hear as to how the chicken is transported to the butcher in cages and said, “It is a cruelty to keep five birds in a cage which was meager space of 450 sq cm space for each bird.”

“Why is there a delay in dealing with recommended rules of AWBI,” the bench asked the animal welfare division of Ministry of Environment and Forests, and directed that interested parties, including the Board, animal rights activists, poultry farmers and National Egg Coordination Committee should discuss the issue in September.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for MoEF, assured the bench that the government will take action on the recommended rules of AWBI, saying, “We are considering the rules and need some time.”

The bench also ordered transferring of all petitions raising similar issues and pending in various high courts across the country to the Delhi High Court.

On July 29, the apex court had sought the Centre’s reply on the rules to prevent cruelty on hens after AWBI, a statutory body set up under the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, said that the department concerned has not acted on rules recommended by it on caging of hens in 2010 and 2013.

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