European Commission pledges to phase out cage farming – Food Tank

The European Commission (EU) recently pledged to ban cage farming in Europe. The proposal will cover animals, including various species of chickens, calves and rabbits, and will come into full force by 2027.

By the end of 2023, the European Commission promises to present a legislative proposal to phase out cage farming before banning the practice completely in 2027. Several EU member states have already implemented bans total or partial cage farming for laying hens in France, for sows in Sweden and rabbits in Austria.

“The cages do not allow animals to engage in basic behaviors, severely restrict their movement and cause immense suffering, both physical and mental,” said Olga Kikou, European affairs manager at Compassion in World Farming, at Food Tank. Kikou argues that livestock intensification contributes to a host of environmental, public health and animal welfare issues.

The new proposal will seek to extend these bans to all EU member states. In determining the timetable for the implementation of the bans, the Commission will take into account animal welfare, the social and economic needs of the European agricultural sector, international trade and environmental concerns.

The European Commission’s decision comes in response to a European initiative by Compassion in World Farming titled “End the Cage Age.The initiative has garnered more than 1.4 million signatures and has been billed as a European Citizens’ Initiative, a measure allowing citizens to propose new laws to the European Commission if there is sufficient public support.

Cage farming is widely used in industrial animal production around the world, where large populations of food animals are confined to cages or other small spaces. According to the American Public Health Association, this type of farming has resulted in a reduction in the cost of meat for consumers, but also raises many concerns regarding animal welfare, human health and environmental impacts.

Factory farming contributes 57% of greenhouse gases, is a major driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss, and contributes significantly to land, water and air pollution. These farming practices also pose a significant threat to public health as disease can easily spread in overcrowded cages.

The proposal to develop legislation to ban cage farming is a crucial step towards improving the sustainability of the global food system, Kikou said. She hopes the new legislation will catalyze significant reforms in production practices, explaining “We need to keep a lot fewer animals in better conditions.”

The official response from the European Commission acknowledges that the transition to cage-free farming will pose a challenge for many European farmers. To address these concerns, they propose to develop several accompanying measures alongside legislation to facilitate the transition. These measures include guidelines and recommendations, as well as financial incentives, new green programs and funding.

In addition to these measures, the European Commission aims to support information campaigns and training for cage-free farming, to work with food processors and retailers to support the development of a cage-free market and to introduce a animal welfare labeling system to improve consumer access to information.

However, organizations such as COPA-COGECA, which represent European farmers, have expressed several concerns. “The European Commission will have to demonstrate how we will avoid double standards in our imports,” says Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of COPA-COGECA. He explains that the Commission’s response remains vague on its plans to adopt the foreign trade ban and lacks measures on how to protect small farmers and maintain food price stability.

“Dropping the cages is the first step towards more sustainable and humane agriculture,” Kikou told Food Tank. “With the introduction of new laws, we hope to see a gradual move towards farming in line with the European Commission’s farm-to-fork strategy.”

About Mike Stevenson

Check Also

Kipco acquires Qurain Petrochemical Industries to strengthen its financial position

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corp. will open six desalination plants by 2024 in …