Our major new undercover investigation released today, 7 July 2022, has revealed the immense suffering of sows in cage systems on EU farms – including those supplying ‘premium’ hams Parma and Bayonne.
Powerful new footage from an investigation of 16 farms across Italy, Spain, France and Poland reveals the cruelty, torment and frustration that sows are forced to suffer in stalls and farrowing crates as they await the promised EU ban on caged farming.
Cages prevent almost all movement
The farms investigated include those supplying so-called ‘premium’ products – Parma and Bayonne hams. Our investigators found that sows on these farms were kept in the same extreme confinement as those on ‘standard’ farms; confinement typically endured by an estimated 85% of sows in the EU.
Our investigation reveals that sows:
- spend many weeks in cages so small they prevent practically all movement apart from standing up and lying down
- endure lying in their own excrement and urine, something they would naturally avoid
- experience the torment of being unable to properly nurture their young because of the restriction of the cage
- resort to abnormal repetitive behaviours like bar biting and chewing the air because they are so frustrated.
We’re sending a summary of our investigation findings to agriculture ministers across Europe and urging our supporters to take action calling on them to press for the EU ban without delay.
EU committed to cage ban
Last year, the European Commission publicly committed to introducing legislation to end the caging of EU farm animals. This commitment was made in response to the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’, led by us, which gathered 1.4 million verified signatures from citizens across the EU and was the first successful initiative for farmed animals.
“Companies keep selling goods publicly recognised as ‘quality” products, yet consumers are unaware that animals are abused in the process. Our latest investigation reveals the terrible conditions in which female pigs are forced to live behind the closed doors of factory farms across the EU,” said Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU. “These dreadful realities should belong to the past! Citizens have spoken loud and clear that they want to see all animals freed from cages. It’s time for the EU to keep its promise to End the Cage Age without delay. That’s why we’re urging the European Commission to propose the ban on caged farming by mid next year" she added.
Smooth financial transition possible
A report released in March showed that a smooth financial transition can be achieved for farmers when the EU introduces a ban on cages. The report by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Financing the cage-free farming transition in Europe, shows that both EU and national financial mechanisms can be used – some of which are already available to farmers – to support the transition to cage-free animal agriculture across the EU.
Read more about our cages investigation.
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