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Proposal in EU to Ban Cages and Crates for Farm Animals

The European Citizens’ Initiative is planning to ban the use of cages for farm birds and crates for farm animals in the EU.

The legislation for the ban is to be introduced when one million signatures are obtained from eligible voters in at least seven EU member states. The “End the Cage Age” initiative says banning the use of cages will put an end to the “inhumane treatment of farm animals.”

To this end, the citizens’ program proposes to ban caging chickens, rabbits, quail, ducks and geese, as well as banning farrowing crates for pigs and individual enclosures for livestock.

Groups Advocating for Total Ban on All Bird Cages

In 1999, a law banning the use of “battery cages” was introduced by EU lawmakers. The law upheld that battery cages were too cramped for chickens, causing them to batter themselves, causing severe injury and sometimes death. The law allowed poultry farmers to construct larger and wider “enriched cages” that would give the chickens more room for movement.

However, several groups such as Compassion in World Farming argued that whether battery or enriched, a cage remains a cage, and all cages for birds should be abolished.

Germany accepted the challenge and banned poultry cages.

The one million minimum signature requirement for the proposed cage ban will enable the European Commission to introduce the legislation. It is however possible that the commission refuses to push ahead with the legislation, even with the required number of signatures. In this case, the commission will have to explain it’s choice against moving forward.

Rejecting Proposals on the Basis of Impracticality or Illegality

There are three other proposals currently gathering signatures for legislation in the EU. One proposes to confer British citizens with permanent EU citizenship after Brexit. The second is an initiative to provide “all needed supports” to refugees. The third is a bid to provide food for up to 46 million Europeans who have little or nothing to eat. The End the Cage Age initiative is the fourth.

The European Commission does not accept all proposed citizen initiatives–some are just impractical or illegal. Examples of those rejected include one suggesting that the European anthem be rendered in the Esperanto language. Another asks the European Parliament to self-destruct. Yet another aims to prevent Brexit from occurring.

With all of these proposals flooding the commission, it would be easy to mistake the banning of cages as a superfluous mistake, but let’s hope for the sake of the animals that the signatures prove a point for better lives, even if those lives are outside of our own species.


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