European Commission registers “End the Cage Age” initiative

07-09-2018 | | |
European Commission registers  End the Cage Age  initiative. Photo: Michel Zoeter
European Commission registers End the Cage Age initiative. Photo: Michel Zoeter

Animal welfare organisations received a boost to their “End the Cage Age” campaign after the European Commission agreed to formally register its initiative.

The decision by the EC’s College of Commissioners concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal and the Commission says it has not analysed the substance of the European Citizens’ Initiative as yet.

Signatures from 7 EU states needed

Registration will take place on 11 September, which will kick-start a one year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers. If this is successful – and signatures have to be collected from at least 7 EU member states – the Commission will have to respond within 3 months. The Commission can decide either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.

The End the Cage campaign aims to prohibit the use of cages for:

  1. Farmed rabbits, pullets, broiler breeders, quail, ducks and geese
  2. Enriched changes for laying hens
  3. Farrowing crates for sows and sow stalls, where not prohibited
  4. Enclosed calf pens, where not already prohibited

The initiative is being coordinated by Compassion in World Farming, which will develop campaign materials and manage the initiative over the next year.

EU nations ranked for cage use

Sweden and Luxembourg at the top of the list

It has ranked EU nations in accordance with their use of cages, placing Sweden and Luxembourg at the top of the list, praising them for outlawing cages for sows, not having any significant rabbit farming and having few or no hens caged.

At the other end of the spectrum are:

  • Bulgaria,
  • Cyprus,
  • Estonia,
  • Greece,
  • Hungary,
  • Latvia,
  • Lithuania,
  • Malta,
  • Portugal,
  • Romania,
  • Slovakia
  • Spain.

CIWF says in these countries almost all rabbits, sows and most hens are caged.

European Citizens’ Initiatives were introduced with the Lisbon Treaty and launched as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens in April 2012.

Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist