The European Commission announced on Wednesday it would propose legislation in 2023 to phase out and eventually ban cages in animal farming by 2027.
During a press conference, the Commission presented their response to the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative, signed by 1.4 million EU citizens.
“Animals are sentient beings, and we have a moral, societal responsibility to ensure that on-farm conditions for animals reflect this,” EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.
Farmers will receive EU subsidies to help them upgrade to new animal farming systems, the Commission said. Countries can also apply for money from the 800 billion euro COVID-19 recovery fund to help with the transition.
Brussels is also planning a broader update of the EU’s laws on animal welfare.
“It feels like one of these moments in history when the tide is turning. The animal advocacy movement succeeded in rattling the cage and planting the seeds of a new era,” said Olga Kikou, head EU office of Compassion in World Farming.
Over 342 million animals are currently kept in cages in the farm industry in Europe. Pigs, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, quails, and cows spend their entire life without any freedom of movement or any possibility to satisfy their natural needs.
“The life of these animals is one big torment,” Anja Hazekamp, Member of Parliament (MEP) for the Dutch Party for the Animals, said earlier. “Experts and scientists have long agreed that using cages is cruel, outdated and unnecessary.”
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