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News Section Icon Published 23/02/2021

More than 140 scientists are supporting a citizens’ call to end the use of cages for farmed animals in the EU. Among them is the world-renowned ethologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.

In a letter to the European Commission, the scientists state that they fully support the call by 1.4 million people who recently signed the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative, launched by a coalition of 170 European NGOs led by Compassion in World Farming. The Initiative urges the EU to phase out the use of all cages in farming. 

Science tells us animals suffer in cages

"The EU needs to take action on behalf of the millions of hens and other animals treated in this cruel manner.”

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute

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Dr Goodall by ©️Steward Cohen

For the submission of the letter, Dr Goodall called for an end to the use of cages in animal farming: “Most people today understand that birds are sentient beings. We have kept hens rescued from factory farms – each had a distinct personality, all showed emotions such as pleasure and fear. A growing body of scientific research supports this, and there can be no doubt that life crammed into a small cage is causing great suffering. The EU needs to take action on behalf of the millions of hens and other animals treated in this cruel manner.”

Despite the EU Treaty’s recognition of animals as sentient beings, over 300 million pigs, hens, rabbits, ducks and quail are confined in cages across Europe, denying the animals space to move freely. Scientific research shows that cages have inherent severe disadvantages for animal welfare which the letter details. Moving away from cage farming, replaced by commercially viable alternatives, would bring about a seismic shift in our food and farming system.

Proud of the support

“We are proud to have Dr Jane Goodall and all the other scientists on board to support an end to the use of cages in animal farming,” said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU and Substitute Representative of the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative.

Olga added: “The ‘End the Cage Age’ campaign has the backing of over 170 European organisations, dozens of Members of the European Parliament, the European Committee of the Regions and 1.4 million EU citizens.  All that is left now is for the Commission to respond by updating the outdated EU Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes, in order to bring it in line with the latest science and the expectations of the EU public."

1.4 million citizens unite against cages

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In October 2020, the European Commission received the European Citizens’ Initiative calling for an end to the use of cages in EU farming.

The ‘End the Cage Age’ Initiative was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe and is only the sixth successful Initiative since the EU launched this democracy tool eight years ago. It is the very first successful Initiative for farmed animals.

The Initiative is also supported by over 170 organisations, a group of cross-party Members of the European Parliament and the European Committee of the Regions.

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