NEW DELHI: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India shared the findings of its latest undercover investigation into numerous hatcheries across major egg- and/or chicken meat–producing states: Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. Hatcheries are where chicks are born before they are sent to farms.
The investigation includes gruesome and extensive video footage of unwanted chicks being killed illegally by up to thousands at a time. It shows day-old chicks being dumped into drums, pits, rubbish bins, and ponds and left to die; buried alive using earthmovers; drowned, crushed, suffocated, and burned alive; fed alive or ground up alive to be fed to fish; and abandoned to be eaten by dogs or eagles.
Some are coloured with chemicals and sold to children, which means they are ultimately mishandled and commonly starve to death. Among the companies named in PETA India’s report are major industry players like Venky’s, Skylark Group, and Srinivasa Farms.
“Newborn chicks are being drowned, burned alive, and killed in other violent and horrific ways at hatcheries across the country, all for the fleeting taste of meat or eggs,” says PETA India Senior Advocacy Officer Harshil Maheshwari. “PETA India is calling on all decent people rightfully appalled by these practices to go vegan today, without any delay.”
Today, chickens used for meat are bred to have heavy, fleshy upper bodies, while those used for eggs are bred for abnormally high egg production. Male chicks are considered useless by egg hatcheries because they don’t lay eggs and, thus, they are usually killed. Meanwhile, in both the meat and egg industries, many chicks are rejected because of size or health issues and also killed.
PETA India is urging the Indian government to follow in the steps of France and Germany by mandating that the Indian poultry sector adopt in ovo sexing technology, which allows male embryos to be identified at an early stage of development so that an egg, rather than a live bird, can be destroyed. PETA India is also calling on the sector to seek guidance from the Animal Welfare Board of India on the humane handling of chicks who are sick and weak.
This investigation marks the second time PETA India has revealed haphazard, atrocious chick-killing practices in the country. Previously, PETA India had publicised video footage taken by Animals Now (previously Anonymous for Animal Rights) of unwanted chicks in India being drowned, burned, ground up, crushed, and fed alive to fish by the lakhs in 2016.
PETA India’s latest investigation proves that the poultry sector continues handling chicks in cruel ways and that a government policy on the matter is an urgent need.