pigs in cages

European commission rows back on timeline of animal welfare reforms

The European Commission set to miss deadline to honour European Citizens' Initiative to End the Cage Age


4th October 2023 

BRUSSELS – Today, on World Animal Day, Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič wrote to Members of the European Parliament indicating the European Commission will not deliver fully on its animal welfare legislative reforms. 

The von der Leyen Commission’s intent is now to only go ahead with just one of the four-promised legislative proposals on animal welfare, which will be on live animal transport, in the remainder of this legislative term which ends next year. 

Previously Executive Vice-President Šefčovič had stated that “Animal welfare is and will remain a priority for the Commission”, while European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, had said “If it matters to Europeans, it matters to Europe”, however this U-turn will mean that this Commission is set to break its promise to deliver proposals to ‘End the Cage Age’, in line with the demands of 1.4 million European citizens, by the end of 2023. 

The Commission has committed that it will “continue working” on the remaining proposals covering animals kept for commercial purposes, animal welfare labeling and slaughter comes with great disappointment for civil society and millions of citizens. 

FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organisation, is extremely disappointed in the delay of the animal welfare reforms. 

Joe Moran, Director of European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS said, “The Commission announced in May of 2020 that this generational revision would happen before the end of the mandate, and yet this communication shows, at present, they are set to fail to deliver. It is extremely disappointing that they have not honoured their word. We will push to ensure that the remaining measures are delivered as soon as possible. 

“However, any failure from the von der Leyen Commission to present proposed measures to phase out caged farming systems, in-line with the successful End the Cage Age citizens’ initiative, raises serious questions over the ECI as a democratic tool.  

“The whole EU animal welfare legislation desperately needs reform and furthering delays will mean further suffering for millions of animals inside the EU. That such clarity on their current thinking comes on World Animal Day only adds insult to injury. This is not good enough.” 


Morgane Speeckaert

Morgane Speeckaert

EU Communications Coordinator


+39 331 365 4110

Rue Ducale 29, 1000 Brussels

FOUR PAWS - Animal Welfare ASBL

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in twelve countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org 

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