Caged hens

Overwhelming support for the End The Cage Age Initiative in the European Parliament

FOUR PAWS calls on the European Commission to act now, after a majority of MEPs supported the ECI in today’s hearing.


The #EndTheCageAge initiative asks for a ban on all caged farming and a move towards cage free solutions and has received unprecedented public support. The hearing saw MEPs across most political fractions endorsing the initiative and calling for a cage free Europe. In the European Union, 180 million hens, 112 million rabbits, 40 million ducks and geese, 10 million pigs and 1.2 million calves are still confined to cages today, but if the ECI succeeds, this won’t be the case much longer.

‘Today’s hearing has shown, that an overwhelming majority of MEPs supports the initiative to end cage keeping in European farming. The ECI has amassed over 1.4 million signatures and was backed by over 170 organisations, revealing that the European public is in favour of a cage free Europe,’ says Pierre Sultana, Director of the European Policy Office at FOUR PAWS. ‘Both, the amount of signatures and the number of MEPs backing the demands,  send a clear call to action to the European Commission: it’s time to ban cages once and for all.’

Cage free farming becoming mandatory across the European Union would not only increase the welfare of hundreds of millions of farm animals, but can also go hand in hand with economic benefits. EU Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski emphasized, that farmers themselves are victims of intensive farming. EU subsidies can and should be used to support farmers in moving away from caged farming and implement alternative methods to promote animal welfare and create fair conditions for producers.  ‘Currently, different countries have very different regulations when it comes to caged farming,’ explains Pierre Sultana, ‘By banning cages across the EU, a level playing field is created, that offers equal opportunities for farmers in all member states. Moving towards cage free farming is important for animal welfare as well as the protection of the single market from substandard imports.’

‘The European Commission needs to devise a time plan to move away from caged farming as soon as possible and offer support to farmers to help them with implementing cage free solutions,’ says Pierre Sultana, ‘The European people and their elected representatives have spoken and they have been very clear: The time of caged farming is over and the future is cage free.’

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. 

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