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News Section Icon Published 21/05/2021

Today, 21 May 2021, the European Parliament’s agriculture committee called on the European Commission to propose legislation on banning the caging of farmed animals.

Adopting a resolution on the ‘End the Cage Age‘ European Citizens’ Initiative, which calls for caged farming to be phased out, the committee called on the Commission to propose a revision of the EU directive on farmed animals, Directive 98/58/EC, “with the objective of phasing out the use of cages in EU animal farming”, looking at a phase out date for 2027 (Compromise Amendment 1).

It also calls on the Commission to speed up its review of the animal welfare legislation, asking for “the results by 2022” instead of the foreseen 2023 date (Amendment 108).

broiler chicken running of grass

The resolution also “[r]equires that all animal products imported into the EU are produced in full compliance with the relevant EU legislation, including the use of cage-free farming systems” (Amendment 181) and stressed the importance of providing adequate incentives and financial programmes to support farmers through the transition (Paragraph 8).

In addition, the resolution “calls in this regard on the Commission to propose specific EU legislation on minimum standards for the protection of farmed rabbits” (Amendment 153).

Next steps

The resolution will be voted on by Parliament during the first plenary session in June.

It was drafted following a 15 April Parliament hearing on the ‘End the Cage Age’ Initiative, which showed overwhelming support for a ban on caged farming from Members of the European Parliament and representatives of other EU institutions, including the Commission.

Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski stated during the hearing that the Commission fully supported implementing the necessary transformation and promised to work intensively to put it into legislation.

Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides also highlighted then that: “We are taking steps to tangible action because, as I have repeatedly stated, animal welfare and animal health are very high on our agenda.”

'Enriched' cages for hens

Commenting on today’s resolution, Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU and one of the citizens leading the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative, said: “This resolution is further confirmation that, like citizens all across Europe, Europe’s legislators also want to end the cruel practice of caging hundreds of millions of farmed animals every year. I applaud the Agriculture Committee for recognising and accepting the need for this important change. In the light of this resolution and Commissioners’ commitment at the 15 April hearing, we now look to the Commission to propose the necessary legislation as soon as possible.”

1.4 million citizens unite against cages

When animals are concentrated in large numbers in confined spaces, they do not experience a life worth living. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that farmed animals suffer in cages, yet every year in the EU over 300 million still spend all or part of their lives in cages, pens or stalls.

Cyprus Pigs Investigation 2013
Sow stalls

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, representatives of the business community, organisations campaigning for environmental protection, health and farming, as well as veterinary students and vets.

Schuman Square, October 2019
Schuman Square, October 2019

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