A Bharatiya Janata Party MP has asked the fast-food joint chain McDonald’s India not to procure eggs from ‘battery cages’ and get them from ‘cage-free’ chickens as part of its commitment to improve animal welfare.
In his letter to CEO of McDonald’s India, Amit Jatia, BJP MP from Saharanpur, Raghav Lakhanpal said that McDonald’s had committed to improve animal welfare within its supply chain in the US, Canada and South Africa by phasing out the procurement of eggs from caged hens.
“A similar policy should be adopted in India would change the lives of approximately 120 million egg-laying hens presently suffering in battery cages.”
“I request you to join the compassion movement and make this commitment at the earliest,” Lakhanpal wrote in the letter on behalf of the People For Animals (PFA).
Egg-laying hens in factory farms in India are confined in barren wire cages known as “battery cages” and on an average, each of them gets only 67 square inches of cage space, which is less space than a single sheet of A4-size paper.
In a natural environment, the MP said, hens can live up to 10 to 15 years, but those bred for egg-laying are slaughtered, gassed or even thrown live onto “dead piles” at just 12 to 18 months of their age when their egg production capability declines.
“This is a prominent social issue throughout the world, including in India. The Animal Welfare Board of India and many state governments have already taken steps to move away from this confinement system, as have many governments and multi-national retailers around the world.”
“However, the corporations that manufacture eggs in these factory farms continue to rear the birds in intensive confinement,” he wrote.
BJP MP Poonam Mahajan had also written a similar letter to the company earlier.
A street artist Amitabh Kumar supported by Humane Society International-India had created a gigantic mural of a caged hen, depicting “cruelty inflicted on it” while urging the government to implement a ban on these housing systems.