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The European Parliament Votes to Ban Cages on Farms

With an overwhelming majority of votes in favor, the European Citizens' Initiative "End The Cage Age" moves forward.
June 11, 2021

The European Parliament has urged the European Commission to declare cages on farms illegal across the European Union by 2027, adopting a resolution on the European Citizens’ Initiative to end the “End the Cage Age.” Once passed by the European Commission, here is what the resolution will entail: 

AN END TO CAGES ON EU FARMS: Currently many species raised for food in the EU suffer in similar conditions as those in the United States:

  • The majority of hens used for eggs and rabbits used for meat are confined in spaces the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
  • Adult female pigs are forced to spend almost half of every year in cramped gestation or farrowing crates that are so small the animals can’t even turn around.
  • Calves, geese, and quail are also cruelly caged, preventing them from engaging in basic natural behaviors.

IMPORTED PRODUCTS FROM CAGED ANIMALS WILL ALSO BE BANNED: In addition to the ban on cages within the EU, all products sold in the EU, including imported ones, must comply with these standards, too. 

A BAN ON FORCE-FEEDING TO PRODUCE FOIE GRAS: In addition, the European Parliament asked the Commission to “come up with proposals to prohibit the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of ducks and geese for the production of foie gras.”

SUPPORT FOR FARMERS: The Parliament highlighted the need to offer incentives and adequate financial programs to support farmers during the transition to phase out cages.

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, Commissioner for Health

THE NEXT STEP: Now that the Parliament has approved the cage ban, the initiative needs to be approved by the European Commission, which is expected to announce the measures it will take on June 30th of this year. 

“[A]nimals caged by the livestock industry live in terrible conditions and are unable to perform their natural behaviors. We are very happy that the Parliament has heard the voice of 1.4 million citizens who signed the citizens’ initiative to end cages. Now a legislative proposal must be presented by the Commission that takes into account the citizens and the Parliament.”

Silvia Barquero, Director of Animal Equality in Spain

BACKGROUND: The European Citizens’ Initiative End the Cage Age was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe and is the first successful initiative for farmed animals. It was supported by Animal Equality, Compassion in World Farming, and more than 170 other organizations. It was also supported by a group of more than 140 scientists, veterinarians, and representatives of the business community. 

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION FOR ANIMALS: The news of this vote is a cause for celebration, but our work is not done. If the EU moves to ban cages for animals raised for food it will be a groundbreaking step in the right direction, but even on cage-free and free-range farms, animals are still often kept confined to crowded barns or pens, and they will still be needlessly slaughtered. The best way to ensure that you’re not contributing to animal suffering is by simply avoiding animal products altogether. Choosing plant-based options is now easier than ever!

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