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News Section Icon Published 20/04/2023

An ambitious overhaul of EU animal welfare laws is possible, revealed today the Brussels-based publication Agra Facts. A leaked preliminary analysis written by the European Commission’s own civil servants includes the option to ban caged farming in Europe and to minimise animal suffering on farms, including during transport and slaughter.

pigs and hens
Credit: Philip Lymbery, © Compassion in World Farming

The EU officials have assessed the economic repercussions of ending the use of cages in farming, including for laying hens and pullets, sows, calves, ducks, geese and quail, rabbits, broiler and layer breeders. They have also looked at cruel long-distance animal transport, painful mutilations, stocking density on farms, and cruel slaughter, including the killing of fish while conscious and the mass-killing of male chicks.


Hope with a grain of salt

While it is positive that the Commission is looking at all these options, the factory farming lobby is putting immense pressure on policymakers and the draft law expected later this year may end up watered down and weak.

“We expect that the Commission will consider the views of the vast majority of EU citizens who care about animals," said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. "It is good news that the current ideas for policy proposals cover a wide spectrum of issues for a broad range of animal species. At this stage though, any good news should be taken with a grain of salt." 

"The overwhelming support from citizens and the crystal-clear scientific evidence come at a time of fierce opposition by vested interests exerting pressure on the political echelons of the Commission. We call on policymakers to hold their ground,” she stated.

“It has never been more urgent to give animals a life worth living. It can take decades for a new EU law to be enacted and we don’t need any new standards that will be obsolete by the time they’re put in place,” Olga added.

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1.4 million citizens unite

Every year, in the EU, about 300 million animals spend all, or a significant part, of their lives imprisoned in cages. The European Commission has committed to end the use of cages in animal farming, in response to the End the Cage Age campaign supported by 1.4 million Europeans, which Compassion in World Farming coordinated.

The so-called Staff Working Document on animal welfare leaked today is part of the legislative process, analysing the possible impacts of the law the EU Commission is planning to propose in early Autumn this year.

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