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Landmark EU Legal Action Launched on Cage Ban

News Section Icon Published 18/03/2024

Today (18 March) the Citizen’s Committee of the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative launched an End the Cage legal action against the European Commission over its failure to deliver its commitment to ban caged farming.

Compassion Team

Papers have been filed at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg outlining the End the Cage Age legal action demonstrating that the Commission has failed to act on its promise to introduce legislation to ban cages in response to a successful ECI – the first to secure a proper commitment.

It also highlights that ECIs were introduced with the specific intention of giving EU citizens more influence over EU decision making and that to renege on its historic promise to ban cages defeats the very purpose of this new ‘democratic’ tool.

Holding the European Commission to account

In 2021, the Commission made a clear commitment to introduce legislative proposals for an EU ban on caged farming before the end of 2023, following the successful ECI signed by 1.4 million people and supported by a coalition we led of 170 NGOs.

We are funding this End the Cage Age legal action ­- the first to hold the Commission to account over its failure to act on an ECI. If successful, it would be compelled by the Court to publish its proposals within a clear and reasonable timescale and to grant access to its file on the End the Cage Age ECI.

Olga Kikou, our Head of EU and member of the Citizens’ Committee of the End the Cage Age ECI, said: “The European Commission promised EU citizens it would deliver a ban on cages. Not only has it failed the people, it has clearly failed the 300 million animals still suffering every day in cages. There is no justification for any further delay.

"We have launched this End the Cage Age legal action against the Commission on behalf of the voiceless animals and the millions of EU citizens who supported this legislation, believing the ECI to be a genuine democratic tool that would give them more influence over EU decision making. We will not rest until every cage is an empty cage.”

Animals continue to suffer in cages

More than 300 million pigs, hens, rabbits, ducks, quail and geese are suffering in cages across the EU each year. Sows are forced to nurse their piglets in crates so small they can’t even turn around, rabbits and quail endure their whole lives in barren cages, and ducks and geese are caged for force feeding to produce foie gras.

In October last year, the Commission’s own Eurobarometer survey revealed that an overwhelming 9 out of ten (89%) EU citizens – around 400 million people* – believe animals should not be farmed in individual cages. The Commission’s scientific advisers, the European Food Safety Authority, have also backed the phasing out of cages on welfare grounds for pigs, dairy calves, laying hens, ducks, quail and rabbits. 

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