The European Parliament voted this week to implement a ban on caged farming across the European Union. Following the committee’s debate regarding the “End the Cage Age” petition, the parliament decided in favor of the ban that aims to completely dismantle caged animal farming by 2027. Announced on June 10th,  the non-binding resolution hopes to change animal agriculture across Europe by removing cages in an effort to reinvent the food supply chain. The parliament vote was substantially in favor of the ban with 558 votes for, and only 85 abstentions and 37 votes against.

“It is important that today, we can say we have listened to you and we will continue to listen; we have heard you and we will continue to hear and will deliver upon your aspirations, which are shared aspirations,” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said. “Animal welfare is for us a political priority and we will continue to show our commitment.”

On June 30th, the European Commission took the next step in enacting the legislative process. The ban will go into effect beginning in 2023 and will begin phasing out cages for hens, rabbits, ducks, geese, calves, and pigs. The Commission claims that cages will be completely removed from the animal agriculture process by 2027.

"Today is a historic day for animal welfare," Kyriakides said. "Animals are sentient beings and we have a moral, societal responsibility to ensure that on-farm conditions for animals reflect this. I am determined to ensure that the EU remains at the forefront of animal welfare on the global stage and that we deliver on societal expectations."

The vote came after the Compassion in World Farming (CIWP) led the “End the Cage Age” petition, gaining more than 1.4 million EU citizens. The petition also garnered support from 170 organizations and all 27 member states of the EU. The European Commission is required to respond to any petition with more than 1 million signatures, putting the caged farming ban on the committee’s table.

“Now, the ball is in the Commission’s court,” CIWF wrote on its Instagram. “We expect to see words put into action, followed by an ambitious timetable for ending the use of these outdated torture instruments called cages.”

The animal agriculture industry globally has used caged farming as the normal practice for decades. Caged farming is commonly used in the poultry industry as a way to speed up factory farming, but the CIWP hopes to stop the confinement of animals just for increased profits.

“It is a question of striking the right balance,” German MEP and European People’s Party member Norbert Lins said during the debate. “So in 2027, we’re suggesting that’s a possible date that should be explored to end the cage age. We know that those who husbanding animals need compensation.”

The petition is the beginning of a greater campaign to change the animal agriculture industry. Beyond CIWP, multiple organizations are working towards changing the way the industry treats animals, attempting to minimize and disband normalized cruelty. The EU Food Safety commissioner Stell Kyriakides confirmed that the European Commission is weighing applying the same welfare standard to all imported products. This import ban would encourage global industries to change their practices.

The petition comes from CIWP’s greater campaign known as its Farm to Fork strategy, which is dedicated to reducing the environmental and climate impact of animal agriculture.

“With cage farming and moving away from cage farming, we hope that we will move to a more sustainable agriculture,” the Head of CIWP told Euronews Olga Kikou said. “And last but not least, we are absolutely certain that moving away from cage farming is very much in line with the Farm to Fork Strategy that this commission endorses.”

The global market is already changing rapidly. Outside of the European Union, focus on animal agriculture and cruelty-free practices are at the forefront. In recent years, the United States passed state-wide caged farming bans in states including Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, Colorado, and California.

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