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European Parliament Votes In Favour Of Banning Cages

11/06/2021

With an overwhelming majority, the European Parliament has voted in favour of banning cages for farmed animals, calling on the European Commission to put in place measures that would make caged farming illegal across the European Union (EU) by 2027. 

The historic vote came as a result of the European Citizens’ Initiative to ‘End The Cage Age’, a petition which received 1.4 million validated signatures from across the EU. The campaign was led by Compassion In World Farming and brought together over 170 organisations, including Animal Equality.

An end to cages in the EU

Caging animals is responsible for some of the most extreme suffering that takes place on factory farms, causing mental and physical distress for animals and often denying them the ability to carry out their natural behaviours. 

While cage-free farming is not free from cruelty, this groundbreaking move would be a significant step forward. If passed by the European Commission, the ban will make a positive difference for around 300 million animals every year, including chickens, rabbits, pigs and calves in the dairy industry. 

Along with a complete ban on cages for farmed animals in EU countries, any products sold in the region – for example, those imported from the UK – would also have to comply with cage-free standards.

Next steps

It’s now up to the European Commission to approve the ban and set it in motion. The Commission is expected to announce the measures that it will take on 30th June 2021.

The Commission’s commitment to improving animal welfare remains a moral, health and economic imperative. For me it is a personal commitment to fight for change.

Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety

Banning force-feeding

In addition, the European Parliament also asked the Commission to present proposals to “prohibit the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of ducks and geese for the production of foie gras”. 

Animal Equality has conducted many undercover investigations on foie gras farms in Europe over the years, denouncing the mistreatment that takes place in this inhumane industry. Thanks to our advocacy work, in 2014 India became the first country in the world to ban the import of foie gras and here in the UK, we are closer than ever before to an import ban on products made by force-feeding.

What does this mean for the UK?

An EU-wide ban on cages for farmed animals will send a strong signal to the UK Government that they must implement a similar law if Britain is to keep up with the rest of Europe on its animal welfare standards.

At Animal Equality UK, we are lobbying the Government to take action on several crucial related issues including banning the import of foie gras, ending cages for hens, and increasing protections for pigs such as stopping the use of farrowing crates for mother pigs on farms. We are also part of the End The Cage Age campaign calling for a complete ban on caged farming in Britain.

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