Compassion in World Farming warmly welcomes the support of the International Veterinary Students’ Association (IVSA) for the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’.
The Association, which represents nearly 40,000 members from over 70 countries, including working veterinarians, has issued a position statement calling on the European Union to revise its 1998 Directive on the protection of farmed animals.
“This requires a transition from cage-based farming systems to alternative cage-free systems such as free range farms,” it says. “IVSA’s Standing Committee on Animal Welfare hereby urges the European Commission to update regulations regarding animal welfare, to amend practices considered cruel and unnecessary by veterinary students and veterinarians within our network.”
Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU, presented the ‘End the Cage Age’ Initiative to the Association in an online seminar last week.
Ending the cruel practice of caging animals
In its position statement the Association says current cage-based animal production systems “represent the direct cause of many severe health and welfare concerns for farmed animals.”
The Association points out that many of these concerns violate the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s ‘five freedoms’ — freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury and disease; fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behaviour. In addition, the cages on many farms violate basic freedoms such as the ability for the animals to stand up, lie down, turn around, perform natural grooming behaviours and to have enough space to stretch their limbs, the Association says.
Olga Kikou said: “Vets and vet students are among those who know animals best. In confirming that cages cause major welfare problems for farmed animals, theirs is a voice that cannot be ignored. Cages are not only cruel but also unnecessary since viable cage-free alternatives are in use in Europe and elsewhere. The IVSA’s call is one more reason why the EU must use the forthcoming review of its animal welfare legislation to phase out the use of cages once and for all.”
1.4 million citizens unite against cages
The ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens' Initiative was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe and is only the sixth successful Initiative since the EU launched this democracy tool ten 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, the European Committee of the Regions, a group of over 140 scientists and representatives of the business community.