The EU will propose phasing out of cages for farm animals in a document that will be ready by 2023 and in force by 2027.
The move comes after a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “End the Cage Age” was signed and supported by more than one million citizens across the EU. The EU will now plan for a legislative proposal by 2023 to prohibit cages for a number of farm animals. The proposal will come as part of the ongoing revision of the animal welfare legislation under the Farm to Fork Strategy.
While all farm animals benefit from current legislation on the protection of animals, only laying hens, broilers, sows and calves are covered by rules on caging. In its response to the ECI, the Commission commits to table, by the end of 2023, a legislative proposal to phase out, and finally prohibit, the use of cage systems for all animals mentioned in the Initiative.
Hens, pigs, calves, rabbits, quail, ducks and geese stand to benefit from the proposed changes.
Since an end to the use of cages will require changes to current farming systems, the EU Commission will consider the socio-economic and environmental implications of the measures to be taken and the benefits to animal welfare in an impact assessment to be completed before the end of 2022. In this context, a public consultation will be carried out at the latest by early 2022. The Commission will assess the feasibility of working towards the proposed legislation entering into force from 2027.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said, “Animals are sentient beings and we have a moral, societal responsibility to ensure that on-farm conditions for animals reflect this. Today’s response is a key step towards an ambitious revision of the animal welfare legislation in 2023, a priority since the beginning of my mandate.
“Our commitment is clear: the phasing out of cages for farm animals will be part of our actions under the Farm to Fork Strategy and lead to more sustainable farming and food systems. I am determined to ensure that the EU remains at the forefront of animal welfare on the global stage and that we deliver on societal expectations,” she added.
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