1. Agriculture World

Centre Releases Draft Rules for Better Poultry Farming Practices

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

Recently, government has declared draft rules for better poultry farming practices. According to which poultry farms in the country may be forced to give a space of not less than 550 sq cm and cannot put more than 6-8 birds in a cage.  

The Ministry of Agriculture on an order given by the Delhi High Court has came out with a set of rules called Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Egg-laying Hens) Rules, 2019 to ensure better conditions for the birds. 

As per the notification, the rules are expected to come into force next January, even though existing farms may get time till 2025 to switch over to the new guidelines. 

The Delhi High Court Bench, on April 10, headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, asked the government to publish the draft rules at the earliest and even said the Model Code of Conduct, which is in force, will not impede its notification. 

The High Court is also been hearing a slew of petitions that have drawn its attention to the cruel practice of keeping these poultry birds in ‘battery cages’. 

However, the rules prohibit the use of growth-promoters and insist that antibiotics can be used only for therapeutic purposes and under supervision by a veterinarian. 

Adding to it, the policy bars feeding hens with the remains of dead chicks, hence preventing diseases to the hens and also benefiting healthy commercial egg production in the country. 

According to the Bench, “The onus of maintaining healthy housing density and keeping records of the total floor area available to hens has been put on the farm owner/operator. Their licences can be cancelled or revoked if satisfactory action was not taken when deficiencies were pointed out.” 

It is to be noted, the rules also called for regular inspection of poultry farms by authorised personnel, who should follow proper bio-security protocols. Inspector will not visit more than one farm within a period of 72 hours for bio-security concerns to prevent the spread of infection, according to the rules. 

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