August 1, 2021

European Commission commits to ban cages for farm animals

“I am happy to announce that the European Commission will present, at the end of 2023, a legislative proposal to end cage farming practices. “ The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, did not hide her enthusiasm, officially presenting, on Wednesday June 30, Brussels ‘response to a European citizens’ initiative (ECI), asking “The end of the era of cages”. “I am convinced that we must do more to protect animal welfare, insisted the commissioner. It is a moral, health and economic imperative. “

The Commission therefore undertakes to ban cages for laying hens, sows, calves, rabbits, ducks, geese and other production animals, by proposing a gradual exit from these breeding practices, which would come into force from 2027. and would be accompanied by financial support measures for breeders in this transition. “The path we are embarking on will be guided by independent scientific research [conduite par l’Autorité européenne de sécurité des aliments, EFSA] and a socio-economic impact analysis, specified Mme Kyriakides. Farmers will be supported in their transition, to ensure that it is fair and economically viable. ” The Commissioner notably cited a reorientation of aid from the common agricultural policy (CAP) so as not to threaten the survival of farms.

“A new stage”

This Commission announcement is a direct response to an ECI launched in 2018 by the Compassion in world farming (CIWF) association, with the support of dozens of other environmental and animal protection organizations. The sixth initiative to have reached the office of the European Commission, it is also the one which has obtained initials in the greatest number of Member States: 18, a record. The initiative then gave rise to several official hearings. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Vera Jourova, congratulated the organizers of this ECI. “For this extraordinary result” and said “Impressed by their professionalism and their commitment to this cause”.

In the European Union, around 300 million animals are reared each year in cages, sometimes smaller than an A4 sheet for chickens or rabbits, making it impossible to express their natural needs, such as scratching the ground or roosting, and causing many problems of joint damage, even diseases related to high densities. If the issue of cages alone will not solve the environmental and animal welfare problems posed by the intensification of animal husbandry, it is an important first step for the associations.

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