Chicken on floor of factory farm in Italy Chicken on floor of factory farm in Italy

Fighting for the Rights of Chickens in the European Union

An important decision was made by the EU Commission of Petitions on May 24th, 2023, to keep a petition open that aims to bring an end to the breeding of fast-growing chickens.

The petition that Animal Equality submitted was accompanied by crucial evidence from an investigation in Northern Italy, uncovering the cruel treatment of chickens, unable to walk, eat, or drink water due to their unnaturally heavy bodies. Our discovery made a strong case for the need to stop this practice.

A message from Matteo Cupi, Vice President for Europe

Can I be honest with you? 

Sometimes, fighting for animals feels like a roller coaster. 

Just like a roller coaster, we always begin at the bottom. When Animal Equality’s investigators entered a factory farm in Northern Italy, they found dead chickens in a splay-legged position. They were unable to walk because their bodies were so heavy. 

Organ failure, injury, and disease were rampant. Decomposing bodies were trampled by other chickens.

But, just like a rollercoaster, a peak is sure to come. This time, the peak was higher than I’d ever seen before. 

Matteo Cupi, Vice President for Europe

Perhaps you remember from previous news that Animal Equality recently filed a petition with the EU Commission—the part of the European Parliament responsible for making laws.

The petition we presented asked for an end to fast-growing chicken farming.

We also sued the 27 European Union countries for violating European law. These laws recognize the need for basic animal welfare protections. 

Not only did the Commission accept the petition, admitting the practice is an issue, but it also promised to evaluate it. 

Then the unthinkable happened. 

On Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, the EU Commission of Petitions met for a very important task: deciding whether to keep the petition open or close it forever. Of course, I immediately headed to Brussels to join in the conversation and address the Committee directly.

Javier Moreno, Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations (Left) and Matteo Cupi, Vice President for Europe (right) in Brussels
Javier Moreno, Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations (Left) and Matteo Cupi, Vice President for Europe (right) in Brussels

During this live discussion, the EU Commission tried to minimize the issue by allowing each European country to create its own animal protection laws. 

With the support of five Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), we pointed out that European laws protecting chickens already exist, but they are simply unenforced.    

Then the Committee on Petitions announced its decision. 

It kept the petition open. 

The EU Commission of Petitions meeting
The EU Commission of Petitions meeting

Finally, billions of farmed animals have been heard at the highest levels of government. We’ve reached the peak of the roller coaster, and that is where the excitement really begins. 

In the next few months, Animal Equality will continue to track the petition’s progress. We will remind the European Union that current animal welfare laws must be enforced, and there is no humane way to breed fast-growing chickens. 

Chicken within Italian factory farm
Chicken within Italian factory farm

Animal Equality will also continue educating people about the benefits of plant-based eating. By simply replacing meat, dairy, and eggs with flavorful plant proteins, consumers can spare animals from suffering immediately. 

Chicken outdoors


Chickens are emotionally complex animals capable of empathy and forming special bonds with fellow animals.

Protect these sensitive and social animals by choosing plant‑based alternatives.

As we accomplish these goals, there will be twists and turns on the journey ahead. We might even feel the butterflies in our stomachs. But you and I will feel a sense of accomplishment when we unbuckle our seatbelts at the end of the ride. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the thrill. 


Matteo Cupi, Vice President for Europe

If you would like to support Animal Equality’s work, there is no better time to donate than NOW. Our Matching Gift Campaign has been extended by one week. Donate until July 7th to have your contribution doubled thanks to a generous, anonymous donor.

And if you sign up to be a monthly donor of Animal Equality before the deadline, your donation will be matched every month for a year!

This opportunity to impact twice the animals only lasts until July 7th, or until Animal Equality’s global goal of $500,000 is reached. We’re over 70% of the way to our goal—will you help us make it to the finish line for animals?

Pig inside a gestation crate looking at the camera


As a compassionate monthly supporter, you can protect animals from cruelty every day. Your support is key to ending their confinement in cages, mutilations, and other abuses.

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