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Report No. 269

D. International Obligations and globally recognized poultry rights:

2.18 World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) defines Animal welfare as: "Animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour and is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter or killing. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal received is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment."

2.19 India is a member of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The OIE guiding principles on animal welfare which include the universally recognised "Five Freedoms"13, published in 1965 to promote the right to welfare of animals under human control. According to this concept, an animal's primary welfare needs can be met by providing:

  • Freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst;
  • Freedom from fear and distress;
  • Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort;
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease; and
  • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.

2.20 These five fundamental rights have been affirmed by the Supreme Court of India in A. Nagaraj case14. They describe animal welfare as a condition where the animal is in good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour and if it is not suffering from unpleasant health conditions such as pain, fear and distress.

2.21 The Supreme Court cognizance of the above mentioned principles and reiterated them in T. N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India15; T. N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India16 and Centre for Environmental Law World Wide Fund India v. Union of India.17

2.22 The Welfare Quality Project, funded by the European Commission has suggested twelve criteria to assess the welfare of poultry. The criteria suggested by them are absence of prolonged hunger, absence of prolonged thirst, comfort around resting, thermal comfort, ease of movement, absence of injuries, absence of diseases, absence of pain induced by management procedures, expression of social behavior, expression of other behavior, good human-animal relationship and positive emotional state.18 These criteria incorporate physical and mental well being of the poultry by linking animal welfare with food quality concept.



Transportation and House-keeping of Egg-laying hens (layers) and Broiler Chickens Back




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