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News Section Icon Published 02/10/2020

Today, on World Day for Farmed Animals (2 October 2020), the European Commission received a European Citizens’ Initiative signed by 1.4 million people which calls on the EU to phase out the use of cages for farmed animals.

End the Cage Age’ is only the sixth European Citizens’ Initiative to reach the required threshold of 1 million signatures since the first Initiative was launched over eight years ago. It is the very first successful Initiative for farmed animals.

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“Today’s hand-in of the End the Cage Age European Citizens' Initiative is the culmination of a great effort by 1.4 million European citizens who came together to call on the EU to end the cruelty of confining farmed animals in cages,” says Olga Kikou, the Head of our EU Office. “The massive public backing for the Initiative confirms the overwhelming level of interest EU citizens have in animal welfare. Now, the EU Commission must listen and come forward with substantive legislative proposals to phase out the use of cages in EU animal farming.”

Achieving the impossible

The 1.4 million validated signatures, collected in 28 countries, easily exceeded the threshold of 1 million signatures required for European Citizens’ Initiatives to be valid, and also outstripped the minimum thresholds in 18 EU member states.

Among the six Initiatives to reach 1 million signatures, ‘End the Cage Age’ also ranks equal first for the number of countries where total signatures collected exceed the minimum thresholds. This demonstrates that animal welfare is a common concern shared by people in all countries across the EU.

Country Number of validated statements of support
Austria 20 403
Belgium 62 397
Bulgaria 17 986
Croatia 12 498
Cyprus 1 610
Czechia 49 219
Denmark 47 336
Estonia 3 560
Finland 32 716
France 89 600
Germany 474 753
Greece 9 003
Hungary 2 550
Ireland 14 646
Italy 90 085
Latvia 3 631
Lithuania 8 449
Luxembourg 5 510
Malta 1 694
Netherlands 153 958
Poland 54 039
Portugal 13 948
Romania 8 308
Slovakia 29 413
Slovenia 3 553
Spain 85 756
Sweden 46 378
United Kingdom 54 114
Total number of signatories 1 397 113

Since 2018, Compassion in World Farming has been leading a coalition of 170 organisations from across Europe to support the ‘End the Cage Age‘ European Citizens’ Initiative. Over the period of one year, the Initiative collected well over a million signatures from all across the EU, which were then submitted to competent authorities in Member States for verification and elimination of duplicate signatures. Now that the signatures have been validated and officially submitted, the organisers plan to meet with the European Commission to present the demands of the Initiative. The Commission has six months to publish its response.

Caged farming in the EU

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Every year over 300 million animals in the EU still spend all, or a significant part, of their lives imprisoned in cages. For example, egg-laying hens and rabbits raised for meat are kept in space about the area of an A4 sheet of paper, while sows (adult female pigs) spend half of every year inside cages, in which they cannot even turn around. This causes tremendous suffering, as these sentient beings cannot perform most of their natural behaviours.

For further information, please see our report available in Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish and Spanish.