Indian poultry industry is passing through a very challenging situation. In past we have discussed the situation arising out of skyrocketing prices of feed and also the antibiotic resistance issue in poultry farming. For last few years Indian poultry industry is facing another challenge from the Animal Welfare groups in India.
Welfare groups are acting vehemently against bird confinement. Welfare activists could even convince the judiciary, policy makers and consumer groups about the cruelty to birds in confined cages. The welfare groups are suggesting 1. Ample place to birds to flutter the wings without touching the other birds. 2. Place to Perch and 3. Provision for a dust bath.
But the fact is other way around that cages are a result of 100 years research, to avoid cannibalism, achieve better Productivity, less faecal born diseases and food safety by way of clean egg production. But Poultry industry and poultry scientists could not effectively counter their argument. As a result farming community are changing and many countries have given an outer date for removing the cages totally.
Following alternatives are also being worked out but these will result in its own consequences such as:
1. Large and Enriched cages – which are door less cages with freedom for bird to move around. The system is very expensive.
2. Traditional Deep litter housing with perches and nest boxes. More space and labor.
3. Deep litter houses supplemented with a run, around the houses for bird movement during “Happy Hours” Extensive system with movable houses and nests provided in green grazing lands. Result – The cost of production will go up.
Now the question is:
- Will the consumer pay?
- Will not traditional litter-born diseases avoided on wire floor will be back.
- Will there not be the area required is huge and there can be exposure to wild birds and predators.
- Will eggs available for consumers be as clean as in Cages and will food safety issues not be compromised.
This is the high time that Poultry industry and poultry scientists should effectively counter their argument and convince the benefit of cage farming with some modification, if necessary.
Last but not least this issue is lingering on for last several years and has already resulted in slowing down the growth of Indian poultry industry and issue needed to be addressed collectively on every platform right from judiciary and policy makers to consumer groups.
Post Date: 26 Apr 2022