I often talk about our activities and progress in the United States. But animal abuse knows no geographic boundaries, and I am committed to expanding our programs worldwide. That happens through the work of Humane Society International, our global affiliate.
Chetana Mirle is part of HSI’s International Campaigns department. Here’s a quick report from her while on her latest trip to India, where she is working against factory farming.
Chetana speaks with an egg producer
at the Indian Animal Industry Expo.
Greetings from India! I am here for three weeks to launch Humane Society International’s new campaign to improve the welfare of animals raised for food in India.
I have been surprised at the level of interest poultry producers expressed for higher animal welfare standards. One farmer, whom I met at the Indian Animal Industry Expo (held from Aug. 16-18 in New Delhi), had 30,000 egg-laying hens confined in battery cages at his facility. He told me, “I know the birds are not happy in the cages… they want to move around.” However he, like others at the event, was concerned about the financial costs of switching to a cage-free system, especially if other large poultry producers continue to use the cheaper battery cage system. Many producers were very interested in the potential for a meaningful cage-free egg labeling system, and a few even suggested that the government enforce a phase-out of battery cages.
One egg and broiler chicken producer was so convinced after speaking with me and reading our materials that, by the third day of the Expo, he was talking to other producers about not using battery cages and was promoting higher animal welfare standards in egg and broiler chicken production, while handing out HSI’s brochures.
Egg and broiler chicken producers weren’t the only ones engaging in discussions about better animal welfare—dairy and pig producers, and government officials and academics, were all talking about the potential for improving practices.
It is just the start of our campaign, and we have been very successful in introducing key ideas and concepts about animal welfare to the food industry in India. I feel very encouraged by the response our campaign has received so far, and I am excited about its future.