End the Cage Age
Every year, the welfare of millions of animals reared for the production of milk, meat and eggs for human consumption is severely compromised.
The vast majority of farm animals – pigs, hens, rabbits, calves, ducks and quail – is imprisoned in cages, which prevent natural behaviors like scratching and wing flapping, and some are so small that the animal can’t even turn around.
In intensive pig farms of various countries, for example, sows still spend a lot of time (up to 4 months) in the gestation cages without being able to move easily.
European States have legislation that, in some cases, prohibits the use of cages, but nevertheless still about 300 million farm animals are locked up for all or most of their lives. The most worrying situation is in China, the world’s largest meat producer, which does not have any nationwide laws that explicitly prohibit the mistreatment of animals and set rules on animal cages.
In 2007, the Treaty of Lisbon stated that the European Union member states must pay full regard to animal welfare in decision making. However, despite the availability of alternative high welfare systems, to this day, around 700 million farm animals are kept in cages for all or much of their lives in most EU member states.
Slow Food – which has been working for years to raise farmers’ awareness of animal welfare issues – supports the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) launched by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which calls on the European Parliament to end this system of animal husbandry in EU countries.