European Parliament supports EU citizens’ call for gradual end to caged farming
European Citizens' Initiative
A European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) allows citizens to participate in shaping EU policy by directly requesting the European Commission to propose a legal act. The citizens' initiative 'End the Cage Age' was registered in September 2018. Coordinated by Compassion in World Farming and supported by over 170 organisations, as well as by scientists and food companies, it collected nearly 1.4 million signatures and was officially submitted in October 2020. Members of the European Parliament debated the citizens’ initiative together with its organisers, Commissioners and representatives of other EU bodies during a public hearing on 15 April. On 21 May 2021, a motion for a resolution was adopted by the AGRI committee.
The debate in plenary was scheduled on Thursday Juny 10 and in this plenary session the resolution was adopted with 558 votes in favour to 37 against, and 85 abstentions. Main points of the resolution are that:
- The gradual end of the use of cages 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.
- Alternatives to cage farming exist and should be encouraged.
- Farmers and livestock breeders must be given a sufficiently long transition period and proper support. This could include adequate advisory and training services, incentives and financial programmes to avoid farmers losing their competitive edge and prevent the relocation of EU agricultural production to places where animal welfare standards are lower than in the EU.
- Imports of animal products have to fully comply with EU rules on cage- free farming. Trade deals should be re-evaluated to ensure that the same animal welfare and product quality standards are met.
Members of the European Parliament also call on the Commission to come up with a proposal to ban the cruel and unnecessary force-feeding of ducks and geese for the production of foie gras.