Caged farming could be phased out across Europe by 2027 according to the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

It called on the European Commission today (May 21) to draft new legislation on fair and sustainable farming, which would lead to the demise of this unnecessary practice.

End caged farming

This is part of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘End the Cage Age’ which has attracted close to 1.4 million signatures from across Europe calling for an end to caged farming.

The European Citizens’ Initiative allows one million citizens from at least a quarter of EU member states to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in areas within its remit. Organisers of successful initiatives are then invited to present their initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament.

The Commission has also been asked to propose a revision of existing EU rules on the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.

These legal changes should pave the way to banning the caging of farmed animals.

More than 300 million EU farm animals are kept in cages for most of their lives, according to End the Cage Age. It wants to prohibit the use of:

  • Cages for laying hens, rabbits, pullets, broiler breeders, layer breeders, quail, ducks and geese;
  • Farrowing crates for sows;
  • Fow stalls, where not already prohibited;
  • Individual calf pens, where not already prohibited.

Animal welfare

MEPs also want all animal products imported into the EU to be produced in full compliance with the relevant EU legislation, including the use of cage-free farming systems.

They insist that existing trade deals should be re-evaluated to ensure that the same animal welfare and product quality standards are met.

They have also called on the Commission to promote animal welfare internationally.

According to MEPs, the gradual end of caged farming should be based on a species-by-species approach that would take into account the characteristics of different animals and ensure that they all have housing systems that suit their specific needs.

They also insist on ensuring sufficient time is afforded to farmers and livestock breeders, before making any legislative changes, to make the transition and receive proper support, including adequate advisory and training services, incentives and financial suports.