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Manipur govt bans gestation crates to confine pigs

The Mercy For Animals India Foundation appealed to the State Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Services, Manipur to stop the cruel form of confinement.

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Imphal: Manipur government has banned gestation crates to confine pigs.

The Mercy For Animals India Foundation appealed to the State Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Services, Manipur to stop the cruel form of confinement.

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Following the appeal, the Foundation said on Wednesday that the Manipur government has issued a circular banning the production, sale, and use of gestation and farrowing crates. The circular directs the animal husbandry unit to ensure that under Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, no pig farm in the state uses these crates.

The order comes after the recent ban on gestation and farrowing crates by the Delhi government and a Mercy For Animals India Foundation campaign against the use of these crates.

“Pregnant and nursing pigs confined in gestation and farrowing crates don’t have enough space to even turn around,” said Nikunj Sharma, CEO of Mercy For Animals India Foundation. “As a result, the pigs suffer bone degeneration and show signs of extreme stress, including biting the metal bars of the crates. We are grateful to the Manipur government for its life-changing decision.”

A right-to-information response furnished by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) National Research Centre on Pigs states that gestation and farrowing crates severely restrict movement and hence violate Section 11(1)(e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

ICAR referred to a demi-official letter dated January 2014 to all veterinary universities and the National Research Centre on Pigs advising against the use of gestation crates in universities or research facilities. ICAR also cited the Directorate of Animal Husbandry, Punjab, which had issued directives to district officers to ensure that no gestation crates are used in the state.

Ng Ibotombi Singh, Director, Vety. & A.H. Services said in the order that pig husbandry plays a very important role in the rural economy of Manipur.

The majority of Piggery farms in the State are mostly backyard subsidiary enterprises and less commercial ventures, as most of the households usually keep one or more livestock, mainly pigs, cattle, poultry, etc. in their backyard with minimum investment.

In the last couple of years, the Veterinary Department was looking for the best ways to ensure that both piglets and sows remain healthy, comfortable, and most importantly, alive, during the farrowing process Unlike other States where gestation crates are used in (large commercial operations), in a State like Manipur no farms are being operated using gestation crates and farrowing crates.

Strict vigil and emphasis are always laid by the Department for ensuring that no piggery farms are using gestation crates in compliance with the above act in the State under the aegis of Animal Welfare Board and Societies for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Manipur, it was added.

The Directorate has also issued a circular directing all Joint Director(s) of the District Veterinary Office to prohibit the use of cruel and illegal gestation and farrowing crates.

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