One million EU citizens make history for farm animals

31 May 2019 | English

As of today, one million EU citizens have signed the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative (ECI); the biggest ever political push for farm animal welfare.

 width=May 30, 2019 – Slow Food joined forces with over 170 other animal welfare and environmental organisations across the European Union to launch the #EndTheCageAge ECI, which aims to end the use of cages for farm animals across the continent. Today marks the collection of one million signatures—a first in the history of farm animal welfare.

Marta Messa, Slow Food International Councilor for the European Union,  says: “Slow Food is part of the largest coalition for farm animal welfare, and we are proud of this collaborative effort. One million signatures is a remarkable milestone, however, the fight to get farm animals out of cages is not over yet.”

Over the last eight months, the campaign has held events throughout the EU, obtained media coverage in international newspapers, and launched a digital activation – Cagefighter Software – enabling all EU citizens to set up an individual page, encouraging others to add their name to this movement.

“EU citizens have just over three months to sign this groundbreaking initiative. Should we continue to collect signatures as we have done over the last eight months, we are going to send an overwhelming message to the newly elected European Parliament and the Commission, showing just how important this matter is to Europeans.”

Over 300 million pigs, hens, rabbits, ducks and quail are all kept in cages across the EU. Most cages are barren, cramped, and deny the animals space to move freely. Cages are cruel and completely unnecessary. The ECI will bring about a seismic shift in our food and farming system, with the potential to benefit hundreds of millions of farm animals a year in Europe, by sparing them a life of suffering. This would be a monumental step on the path towards ending factory farming.

“Of all the terrible contraptions used to control animals, the cage is one of the worst. It is high time we evolved past such cruelty and put a stop to the primitive and barbaric practice of keeping farm animals behind bars – a life spent in a cage is no life at all,” Messa concludes.

To support the End the Cage Age ECI please visit

Notes to Editors

  1. The End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) brings together a network of over 170 NGOs that include animal protection and environmental bodies. This is the first time in history that this number of European organisations has come together for farm animals. Initiated by leading farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming, to find out more about the ECI, visit
  2. This European wide petition will run for one year (ending September 2019), with the ambitious goal to end the use of cages across the continent. During this period a minimum of one million verified signatures must be collected from EU citizens.
  3. The European Commission recommend the collection of a minimum of 1.2million statements for ECI to pass the 1 million threshold due to a certain percentage of signatures being deemed invalid, so the End the Cage Age ECI will continue to collect signatures. Based on previous ECI’s it is estimated that the total count of signatures will include 20% invalid data. This is based on many variables including duplicates, incorrect ID numbers, and date of birth, resident status and illegible handwriting (on paper statements).
  1. Slow Food is a global network of local communities founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions and counteract the rise of fast food culture. Since its founding, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food. Slow Food is the umbrella organization responsible for guiding the entire movement, which reaches millions of people every year. Slow Food’s goal is to fix the broken food system by moving toward diversified agroecological food systems.

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