Animal Welfare Board of India bans forced molts
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2011:
CHENNAI–The Animal Welfare Board of India on March 9, 2011
ordered all egg producers in India to cease starving hens to induce
forced molts. The AWBI advised egg producers that forced molts
violate the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Forced molts simulate winter by depriving hens of food for as
long as two weeks, while keeping them in darkened barns. Water may
be withheld for up to two days. When food, water, and light are
restored to normal, the hens who survive the ordeal–in which they
typically lose a third of their weight–respond by starting a new
While the AWBI claims the statutory authority to enforce the
edict against forced molts, it will require state-level cooperation
to implement it.
The first move in that direction came on March 10, when the
Committee to Monitor Animal Welfare Laws in Maharashtra state,
appointed by the Bombay High Court, directed the Maharashtra
Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development & Fisheries to
enforce the AWBI order.
India ranks third worldwide in egg and poultry meat
production, raising about 490 million chickens per year, with
output of about 532 billion eggs per year.