Today (10 June 2021), the European Parliament urged the European Commission to make cages for farmed animals illegal across the European Union by 2027, adopting a resolution on the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative.
The resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority, with 558 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in favour to 37 against and 85 abstentions. It urges the Commission to revise the outdated EU directive on farmed animals, Directive 98/58/EC, in order to phase out cruel cage systems.
Parliamentarians highlighted the need to ensure that all products placed on the EU market – including imported ones – comply with future cage-free standards. They also stressed the need to provide adequate incentives and financial programmes to support farmers through the transition.
In addition, the EU Parliament called on the Commission to “put forward proposals to ban the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of ducks and geese for the production of foie gras.”
Parliamentarians also pushed the Commission to speed up its review of the EU’s animal welfare legislation, asking for this to be completed by 2022 instead of late 2023 as currently planned. This would help ensure that the ban is introduced within the mandate of the current Commission, which will leave office in 2024.
The Commission is expected to announce what steps it will take regarding the issue on 30 June this year.
Commenting on today’s resolution, Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU and one of the citizens leading the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative, said: “Citizens have been waiting for years to see the cages ban materialise. We are delighted that the European Parliament has taken a firm stance against cages.
"The time has come now for politicians to put words into action. From today, the ball is in the Commission’s court. We expect nothing short of an ambitious timetable for ending the use of these outdated torture instruments called cages. Once this happens, the EU could truly claim global leadership in animal welfare.”
Time to 'End the Cage Age'
There is a great deal of scientific evidence that farmed animals suffer in cages, yet every year in the EU over 300 million still spend all or part of their lives in cages, pens or stalls.
The 'End the Cage Age' European Citizens' Initiative was signed by 1.4 million people across Europe and is only the sixth successful Initiative since the EU launched this democracy tool ten years ago. It is the very first successful Initiative for farmed animals.
The ECI has also been supported by major food companies who sent a letter of support to the EU Commission in March. Read more here.