Friday

28th Jan 2022

EU prepares to outlaw caged-animal farming

  • Over 300m animals in EU still farmed in metal boxes (Photo: taxzi)

The European Commission has pledged to put forward a bill to end most farming of animals in cages in 2023.

The planned phase-out would take until 2027 and would cover rabbits, hens, pigs, quails, ducks, calves, and geese.

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It will have to be endorsed by all 27 member states and the European Parliament and will include a compensation package for farmers, the commission noted.

"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 on Wednesday (30 June).

"A sustainable food system cannot exist without high animal welfare standards," agriculture commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski also said.

The bill comes after a citizens' petition that reached more than 1m signatures, obliging the EU to examine new legislation.

"Citizens' input can make a real difference ... We have heard the concerns of millions of people over the living conditions of farm animals and we will respond to it," EU values commissioner Věra Jourová noted.

The campaign group that led the petition, Compassion in World Farming, also celebrated the move.

"It feels like one of these moments in history when the tide is turning," Olga Kikou, the group's chief, said.

The initiative was signed by 1.4m people - the sixth one out of 81 launched over the years which made the 1m-threshold.

Some 300m animals in the EU still spend all or large amounts of their lives in cages so small they cannot do basic things, such as hop or turn around, Compassion in World Farming said.

Romania blasted over animal export conditions

Romania, EU's largest exporter of live farm animals to third-countries, gets singled out in the latest European Commission report for bad practices - following the drowning of more than 14,000 sheep last November.

Romania pushes live-animal exports despite EU criticism

Romania was criticised during a crisis in the Suez canal earlier this year when the country was the source of 130,000 of the 200,000 live animals stranded without food and water during the shipping bottleneck.

Opinion

Public support grows for EU 'commissioner for animals'

In recent months, 140,000 citizens and 152 MEPs have joined the #EUforAnimals campaign, demanding more prominence be given to animal welfare by making it explicit in the name of the relevant directorate-general and job title of the appropriate EU commissioner.

Feature

15 years on: How are Bulgaria and Romania doing in the EU?

The latest European Commission health report puts the pair of south-eastern EU accession states last in terms of the overall lifespan of their citizens. Romanians and Bulgarian now die even younger than before.

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