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Hearing of European Citizens’ Initiative “End The Cage Age”

Over 300 million animals in Europe live all or part of their lives in cages. This applies above all to laying hens and sows, but also to rabbits, geese, ducks, chicks, broilers, quails, minks and calves. 1.4 million European citizens are calling for an end to the caging of farm animals. The Commission and the Member States must act now!

On 15.4.2021 a joint hearing of the Committees for Agriculture and Petitions on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) End the Cage Age took place. It was launched by the NGO Compassion in World Farming with the support of over 170 organizations across the EU. The ECI has been one of the most successful initiatives in recent years. With 1.4 million verified signatures, the ECI was submitted to the European Parliament on 20.10.2020. The European Commission must respond to it. The Greens in the European Parliament demand:

1, A clear timeframe for a ban on caging for all animals and an end of the cage age

The current EU Regulation 98/58 dates back to the 1990s and is outdated. Some member states have introduced national laws that go beyond EU minimum standards and ban caging in whole or partially. We call on the Commission to present a new unified legislative proposal. This requires a clear time frame with transition periods. The Greens call for an end of cage farming by the end of 2027.

2, Financial support for farmers during this change

Alternative husbandry systems for livestock are already available and used commercially. Many farmers have already converted or want to do so. The EU must support their effords for example through CAP payments for alternative husbandry systems.

3, Equal standards and thus fair competitive conditions for imported products into the EU

We must make sure that farmers have a level playing field and that animal welfare-conscious farmers are not undercut. Products from abroad, which are not produced under the same conditions, must be taxed. This is compatible with WTO standards.

4, Labeling of husbandry & origin in processed products and the Gastronomy

According to an Eurobarometer survey, 94% of respondents consider the welfare of farmed animals important 82% said that farm animals should be better protected than they are now. We call for labelling of animal welfare and origin for processed products and the gastronomy, so that consumers can make informed choices.

Watch my intervention here.