CIWF Logo Food Business
Search icon

Caged rabbit production

The barren cage

Caged rabbits 1

Barren battery cages are the most common housing for meat rabbits. Rabbits are caged individually or in small groups, with very little space to move as they grow. EU legislation has banned the barren battery cage for laying hens, but no such legislation exists to protect farmed rabbits.

Cages have wired flooring and are bare except for the provision of feed and water. Rabbits are unable to express most of their natural behaviours including: lying stretched out, rearing up on their hind legs (due to the height restriction of the cages), gnawing, hopping and digging. Breeding rabbits are usually kept in single cages which denies them social interaction and suffer feet sores from the wire mesh. Mortality rates are very high due to disease and antibiotics are used routinely.

The enriched cage

There are no EU-wide legal requirements for enriched cages. The enriched cage, known as the ‘welfare cage’, includes a platform, a section of plastic flooring and a gnawing block. However, the space available is still very restricted limiting behaviour, the floor is still mostly wire and there are no requirements to provide hay or hiding places. Enriched cages are also used for breeding does that are individually housed.

Common caged systems (both barren and enriched) house thousands of rabbits stacked in dark sheds with many rows and tiers  


You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).