June 30, 2021 was the day that the EU Commission wrote history by announcing its commitment to an EU-wide ban on the use of cages in animal agriculture.
The Commission plans to phase out the use of cages for more than 300 million hens, mother pigs, calves, rabbits, ducks, geese and other farmed animals by 2027. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová made the announcement at a press conference covering the Commission’s response to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) »End the Cage Age«. The ECI was signed by 1.4 million EU citizens, making it the first successful initiative for farmed animals.
The Commission intends to »put forward a legislative proposal by the end of 2023 to phase out and finally prohibit the use of cages for all the animal species and categories referred to in the initiative.« It will support farmers during the phase-out process and review the requirements regarding products imported from non-EU countries. By the end of next year, the Commission will evaluate the details of the legislative proposal. A final draft, which would require the approval of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, will be presented in 2023. The legislative proposal will be part of the ongoing review of animal welfare as part of the »farm to fork« strategy.
Mahi Klosterhalfen, President of the Albert Schweitzer Foundation and a co-initiator of the ECI, is delighted with the news: »Today is a historic day! European citizens are no longer simply going to accept animal suffering. They made their demand for a change in animal agricultural loud and clear, and the EU Commission has made an unequivocal commitment in response. This is Europe’s big opportunity to rescue more than 300 million mother pigs, calves, hens, rabbits and other animals from this most horrific of all farming practices and to finally end the cage age! We NGOs will be monitoring the situation very closely to ensure that the agriculture lobby does not attempt to overturn the initiative.«
About »End the Cage Age«
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) »End the Cage Age« was launched on September 11, 2018. It is supported by 170 NGOs from all over Europe and gathered 1.4 million valid signatures from 18 member states within twelve months. To be eligible for a response from the Commission, an ECI requires one million signatures from seven member states. »End the Cage Age« is the sixth ECI to succeed among 75 initiatives registered in the past ten years, achieved the third highest number of signatures and was the first successful ECI to address the welfare of farmed animals.
More information about »End the Cage Age«: https://www.endthecageage.eu/
The EU Commission’s press release: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/de/ip_21_3297