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Overwhelming Support in the European Parliament for Initiative to End Cages

The European Parliament held a three-hour public hearing on the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) “End The Cage Age” today, which was received with positive support.
April 15, 2021

WHAT IS “END THE CAGE AGE?”: The “End The Cage Age” European Citizen’s Initiative calls on the European Union (EU) to phase out the use of cages on farms. Today’s public hearing was a milestone for the initiative, ahead of the official response from the European Commission that is scheduled for the next few months. 

Animal Equality and over 170 other organizations participated in the “End The Cage Age” initiative, which has received over 1.6 million signatures. The initiative calls on the European Commission to eliminate cages on farms for a number of species, including hens, rabbits, quail, ducks, geese, female pigs in gestation or farrowing crates, and calves in individual pens. Instead of using cages, the initiative asks that the EU move to alternative systems such as barns, free-range or free-farrowing farming. Such cage-free systems are already in use in several EU member states, and many corporations have been moving away from the use of cages in their supply chains. 

THE HEARING: Today’s hearing was followed by a debate in the EU Parliament, and by July 15th, the EU Commission will have made a decision on whether they will start the legislative process to ban caged farming. 

Janusz Wojciechowski, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that EU agricultural subsidies and the Recovery Fund can “be used in part to phase out cage farming and apply alternative methods.” She also noted, “you have the full support of the European Commission to carry out this transformation.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The news of today’s hearing is a cause for celebration, but our work is not done. If the EU moves to ban cages for animals raised for food it will be a groundbreaking step in the right direction, but even on cage-free and free-range farms, animals are still often kept confined to crowded barns or pens, and they will still be needlessly slaughtered. The best way to ensure that you’re not contributing to animal suffering is by simply avoiding animal products altogether. Choosing plant-based options is now easier than ever!

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