West Bengal government has barred pig rearing farms from confining mother pigs in farrowing crates to stop cruelty towards those animals.
Bengal joins the league of 20 Indian states and Union Territories to have imposed similar orders against the pig rearing farms there.
Following an appeal from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)- India, the director of West Bengal animal husbandry and veterinary services department has issued a circular asking the farms to strictly comply with the norms.
As per the circular, section 11(1)(e) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 prohibits the confinement of any animal to a receptacle that fails to offer a reasonable opportunity for movement, such as gestation and farrowing crates.
The other states that have issued similar orders include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
According to PETA-India's advocacy officer Farhat Ul Ain, pigs are intelligent animals and protective mothers who form bonds with their young piglets when unrestricted.
"Their confinement to these cramped crates and the ultimate separation from their piglets cause them tremendous grief and agony. Pigs are also transported in cramped trucks to slaughterhouses, where they are stabbed in the chest, frequently after being hit on the head with a hammer," Ain added.
He also said that gestation crates, which are also known as 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 sows, which 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," Ain added.