Delhi govt bans cruel gestation crates used to confine pigs

NEW DELHI: After receiving a representation from Mercy For Animals India Foundation, the office of the director of the animal husbandry unit of the Delhi government issued a circular that bans gestation and farrowing crates.

The circular directs the animal husbandry unit to ensure that penal action be taken against any farmer or farm using gestation crates, under section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which states that any person who “keeps or confines any animal in any cage or receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement” is punishable by fine or imprisonment.

“Pregnant and nursing pigs confined in gestation or farrowing crates don’t have enough space to even turn around,” said Nikunj Sharma, CEO of Mercy For Animals India Foundation. “As a result, the pigs suffer bone degeneration and show signs of extreme stress, including biting the metal bars of the crates. We are grateful to the Animal Husbandry Unit, Development Department, of Delhi for their life-changing decision.”

A right-to-information response furnished by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), National Research Centre on Pigs, states that gestation and farrowing crates severely restrict movement and hence violate Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

ICAR referred to a demi-official letter, dated January 2014, to all veterinary universities and the National Research Centre on Pigs advising against the use of gestation crates in universities or research facilities. ICAR also cited the Directorate of Animal Husbandry, Punjab, which had issued directives to district officers to ensure that no gestation crates are used in the state.

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