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Committee weighs up legal options on cages ban

News Section Icon Published 10/19/2023

Photo of 7 citizens in Eu

A huge majority of Europeans (89%) supports a ban on individual cages for farmed animals, a new poll has revealed today (19 October). 

Eurobarometer, the official European Commission poll, also showed that 84% of Europeans surveyed want the welfare of farmed animals to be better protected in their country.

Despite this overwhelming support, the Commission has failed to publish its draft proposal for a ban as promised. In response, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘End the Cage Age’ Committee, supported by Compassion in World Farming, has said it will now look at taking first steps towards a legal action.

EU fails to deliver proposal to ban cages

Back in 2018, seven citizens from across Europe (France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Netherlands and Czechia) initiated the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative – a democratic tool aimed at increasing citizen engagement in EU affairs that matter to them.

The Initiative was signed by 1.4 million citizens and secured a unique commitment by the European Commission to end the cage age, which may become a litmus test for the credibility of EU democracy. This followed a campaign by 170 NGOs that we coordinated.

The promised laws to end caged farming, among others, were scheduled to be delivered in September as part of a landmark legislative package. However, on Tuesday, following many missed opportunities over recent weeks, the Commission again failed to deliver the promised proposal when it announced its planned work programme.

Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion EU, said: “We very much welcome the publication of the latest official EU poll on animal welfare, as it shows what is common knowledge – Europeans care deeply about animals and nine out of ten support a ban on cages. And this ban is supported by an overwhelming 89% of people in Europe.

“Whilst the Commission made promises to the 1.4 million citizens who supported the ECI, President von der Leyen appears to be listening to big agriculture lobby rather than delivering the wishes of millions of EU citizens. We believe the landmark proposal to ban cages is drafted and ready to go and there is no good reason for any further delay. That’s why we stand behind the European Citizens’ Initiative Committee as they weigh up their legal options. The Commission must deliver for EU citizens now!”

The Eurobarometer poll, which is based on 26,376 interviews in all EU countries conducted between 2 and 26 March 2023, also showed that:

  • 94% of Europeans believe that animals need an adapted environment (94%). 
  • 89% of Europeans think the EU needs to end mutilations
  • More than half of Europeans surveyed [60%] were also willing to be pay more for welfare-friendly products. 

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