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 Empty cages

End The Cage Age: The end of the cages in Europe

The European Union is working on the 'End The Cage Age' directive that will phase out the use of cages in livestock farming from 2027. Currently, more than 300 million farm animals such as hens, cows, pigs, rabbits, and geese live in cramped conditions for their entire lives.


Hens in cages

Blanca Ponce, Business and Institutional Relations Specialist

November 17 2022

EU farm animal legislation stipulates that "freedom of movement of an animal must not cause them unnecessary suffering", and states that "when an animal is continuously or regularly confined, it must be given space appropriate to its physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge".

In cages, animals cannot indulge in their natural behaviors. They are often crammed into a few centimeters, which prevents them from moving, turning around, or stretching their wings. The use of cages not only causes them great suffering, but it is also cruel and goes against scientific knowledge on the subject.

Because of this reason, the European Commission is working on the development of a new directive based on the European Citizens' Initiative End The Cage Age

This initiative was launched by the organization Compassion in World Farming and managed to collect more than 1.4 million signatures across Europe. Each signature represents one person calling for alternative farming methods for food animals, including laying hens. In 2021, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to ban animal cages and urged the European Commission to legislate on the issue.

The initiative is complementary to the EU's review of the "Farm to Fork" food strategies. It is also aligned with the European Green Pact, which aims to make food systems sustainable, healthy, and respectful both with the environment, the rural development and the animal welfare. These objectives became even more urgent after the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, which called into question the transmission of viruses from animals to humans.

Objective of the End The Cage Age Directive

The aim is to end the use of cages for hens, sows, calves, rabbits, breeding hens for both laying hens and broilers, quails, ducks, and geese.

The importance of this initiative lies in its objectives:

  • To phase out cages in the European Union from 2027 starting with laying hens.

  • To ensure that all products imported into the EU comply with future cage-free standards.

  • To implement incentive schemes and financial support for European livestock farming during the transition to cage-free farming.


Rabbit in a cage

The Commission is currently working with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the first draft of the directive, which is expected to be published by the end of 2023.

Some European countries have already banned them for animals such as hens. In Spain, on the contrary, more than 70% of hens still live in cages.

Spain has not shown any support for this directive, but your signature could change this situation. With your help we can put an end to cages forever in Spain, and in the whole European Union. Join your signature here


Blanca Ponce

Business and Institutional Relations Specialist

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