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Dr Jane Goodall joins citizens’ calls on World Cage Free Day

News Section Icon Published 10/12/2023

Compassion in World Farming Patron calls on the EU to “Stop the suffering and End the Cage Age” and to publish cage ban proposals now

Renowned conservationist and Compassion in World Farming Patron Dr Jane Goodall has joined citizens and NGOs in urging the European Union to keep its promise to ban the use of cages for farmed animals on World Cage Free Day (Friday 13 October).

Two years ago, the European Commission committed to banning cages for the 300 million farmed animals who are confined in cages, pens or stalls, often unable to move at all or express any natural behaviours. Yet the Commission has so far failed to publish proposals for the ban as promised.

The commitment to ban cages was made in response to the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative (ECI) signed by more than 1.4 million citizens as part of a campaign involving 170 NGOs coordinated by Compassion in World Farming. This democratic process requires the European Commission to present a proposal for a new law by the end of 2023. The failure to keep this promise to date has outraged supporters and activists across the EU.

In her video message to President von der Leyen, renowned ethologist and conservationist, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, Dr Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, said: “Every year 300 million sentient animals are caged, confined in industrial farms across the EU. These factory farming systems are outdated, they cause immense suffering to millions of animals, all of whom are able to feel frustration, fear and pain… I was really upset when the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen didn’t commit to the reforms in her State of the Union speech. It seems she has listened to big business, rather than to the millions of EU citizens who support the promised ban on cages.”

Today, Compassion in World Farming is asking supporters to show their support for the ban by posting images on social media of the palms of their hands illustrated with an image of cage bars, demonstrating unity to ‘Stop the Suffering, End the Cage Age’ and following #EndTheCageAge. Earlier this week, the NGO joined a number of other organisations and citizens to rally outside the EU Commission building in Brussels demanding the EU publishes its full proposals for revised animal welfare legislation, including the promised ban on cages.

The NGO has also released a new analysis of MEPs’ votes on farmed animal welfare. The data-driven analysis scores MEPs’ votes on farmed animals since the beginning of the Parliamentary term in 2019. It reviews 16 key European Parliament votes aimed at improving the welfare of farmed animals and reveals a clear disconnect between what citizens ask for and how MEPs vote. While eight out of ten Europeans* believe that the welfare of farmed animals should be better protected, this is not reflected by the elected representatives of the European citizens. Out of the 10,265 individual votes analysed, only four out of ten votes were for higher welfare for farmed animals.

Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion EU, said: “It is outrageous and a complete betrayal of EU citizens that the EU is listening to big business and ignoring the clear will of the European people – 94% of whom believe the welfare of farm animals is important*.

“ECIs were introduced to give EU citizens the opportunity to influence decision making directly, yet, having worked so hard to achieve a successful ECI with our partners in 170 NGOs and millions of citizens and despite promises we still don’t have the ban. It would be absolutely disgraceful if the EU just shelved the plans at this late stage – it would make a mockery of democracy and of the entire ECI process.

“It will not end here – we will be stepping up the campaign to ensure the EU makes every single cage an empty cage. Today supporters all over the EU will demonstrate their support for the ban by posting photos of their hands in a ‘stop’ gesture on social media in a collective message to the EU saying “Stop the suffering and End the Cage Age”.

Find out more about the campaign at

For more information please email or call +44 (0)1483 521 615.

Notes to Editors

1. Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, we have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa.
2. * Eurobarometer, December 2016.
3. Images of the ‘Stop the suffering and End the Cage Age".


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