Assam bans use of gestation, farrowing crates in pig farming

A circular issued by the State’s Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department follows an appeal from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Published - April 12, 2023 06:06 pm IST - GUWAHATI

File photo of a pig farmer in the outskirts of Guwahati city.

File photo of a pig farmer in the outskirts of Guwahati city. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

GUWAHATI

The Assam government has prohibited the manufacture, sale, and use of gestation and farrowing crates in pig farming, following an appeal from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India.

A circular mandating compliance to the group’s request was issued by the State’s Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department to the joint directors and veterinary officers of all districts within their jurisdictions.

The circular cites Section 11(1)(e) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which prohibits the confinement of any animal to a receptacle that fails to offer a reasonable opportunity for movement, such as gestation and farrowing crates. It also underlines the problematic restriction of mother pigs and their piglets within these metal crates, which leaves the mother unable to turn around or even stand up without difficulty.

According to the circular, the crates force the pigs to live amid their own faeces and urine, resulting in sores and infections.

Confining animals in this way is illegal, a position confirmed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Pig.

“Pigs are also transported in cramped trucks to slaughterhouses, where they are stabbed to death in the chest, frequently, after being hit over the head with a hammer” Farhat-ul Ain PETA India advocacy officer

Assam, home to the highest population of pigs in the country, is the latest of 20 States and Union Territories to issue directions against the housing of pigs in these contraptions. The other governments that have issued such circulars are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Painful death

“Sows are intelligent, protective mothers who form bonds with their young, when unrestricted. Their confinement to these cramped crates and the ultimate separation from their piglets causes them tremendous agony and grief,” PETA India advocacy officer Farhat-ul Ain said, appreciating the Assam government’s move.

“Pigs are also transported in cramped trucks to slaughterhouses, where they are stabbed to death in the chest, frequently, after being hit over the head with a hammer,” she said.

Gestation crates aka ‘sow stalls’ are metal cages, essentially the size of a pig, with concrete or slatted floors. In them, pigs are unable to turn around or even stand up without difficulty.

These devices confine pregnant pigs that are typically transferred to farrowing crates to give birth and are kept in them until their piglets are taken away. Farrowing crates are fundamentally the same as gestation crates, except that they contain small side compartments for piglets.

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