Europe intends to phase out caged farming by 2027

5 Jul 2021

A June 30 vote from the European Commission will end caged farming in the European Union. This initiative is part of the overarching Farm to Fork Strategy and was brought to the attention of the commission thanks to a citizen petition that was supported by 1.4 million bloc members as well as large corporations, including Nestlé, Unilever and Mondelez International.

In its decision, the Commission said it would propose legislation on the matter in 2023 with the intention of enacting a ban on caged farming for all animals listed in the petition by 2027. In a statement, the Commission acknowledged that animal welfare is a high priority, and because this petition asked to amplify current protections that are in line with commitments previously made in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the European Green Deal, it was in support of the request.

Europe intends to phase out caged farming by 2027

Animal welfare was the central question surrounding the push for this decision. Lawmakers from across the bloc supported the move with the Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski saying that this decision makes the EU Commission’s current animal welfare legislation “even more ambitious.”

Already laying hens, sows and calves are covered by EU rules that do not permit them to be farmed in restrictive cages. Laying hens can, however, be kept in “furnished” or more expansive cages. With the approval of this new petition, the list of animals that are no longer allowed to be raised in cages is expanded to include rabbits, young hens, quails, ducks and geese.

"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 in a statement.

As part of its decision, the Commission said it will provide financial support to help farmers upgrade to more animal-friendly facilities in line with the new standards. The Commission will also ensure that additional financial resources are made available to support farmers in the transition to cage-free systems.

The Commission is now assessing the feasibility of enacting the legislation by 2027. Reuters reported that the EU Parliament also supports the ban on farming animals in cages.

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