European Parliament votes overwhelmingly in favor of banning caged farming
The European Parliament has called for a ban on caged animal farming after overwhelmingly voting to end the practice. The resolution passed with 558 MEPs voting in favor, 37 against, and 85 abstentions.
The vote was held as a response to a petition called “End the Cage Age”, which gathered the signatures of more than 1.4 million European Union citizens from at least 18 member states and demanded the phasing out of cages on farms by 2027.
Although the EU already banned conventional battery cages, animal advocates say the animal welfare standards of the still-allowed "enriched" cages are not enough. By 2019, 50% of laying hens in the EU were kept in "enriched" cages. In "furnished" or "enriched" cage systems, egg-laying hens spend their whole lives in tiny spaces, hindering them from performing basic needs such as dustbathing and wing-flapping. Rabbits, pigs, calves, geese, and quail are also caged. "We have estimated, and this is a very conservative number, that over 300 million animals, farmed animals, spend most of their life or their entire life in cages in Europe, every year," says Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU and one of the citizens organizing the petition.
According to Compassion in World Farming, "farmed animals have never had so many people standing up for them." Research by the Publications Office of the European Union shows that 94% of EU citizens believe that protecting the welfare of farmed animals is important, and 82% think farmed animals should be better protected than they are now. "From caged hens who long to stretch their wings to sows who want to mother their piglets unconfined, and rabbits who deserve the space to hop…Each one of them now has a better chance in life," the organization states.
Sinergia Animal also celebrated the move. "We are working with several companies to end the use of cages in large supply chains in Latin America and Asia. But we know this is just the beginning. Legislative reforms are likely to occur everywhere in the world because informed consumers don't want to see their food being produced in such an unethical way," says Eduarda Nedeff, Global Corporate Engagement Director of the organization.