Good News! We are a step closer to a cage free EU!

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MEPs – support the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative!

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has just called on the European Commission to propose a revision of the EU directive on farmed animals, Directive 98/58/EC, “with the objective of phasing out the use of cages in EU animal farming”, looking at a completion date of 2027!

As many of you know, 1.4 million EU citizens have signed a petition calling for a total ban of all cages in farming. During the European Parliament hearing of the initiative in April, it received support by the vast majority of MEPs, the Committee of the Regions, as well as the EU Health and Agriculture Commissioners. There are also calls for restrictions on imported animal products into the EU to ensure animals have been reared in cage-free systems and for the provision of adequate incentives and financial programmes to support farmers through the transition.

In February this year, over 140 scientists, including the famous ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall, called on the EU to end the use of cages in farming. About a month later, major food producers and retailers including Unilever, Nestlé, Barilla, Ferrero and Mondelēz confirmed that a cage-free future is possible and called on the EU to act.

What are the next steps?

There will be a plenary hearing on 10th June in European Parliament to debate the phase out of cages and the future of farming in EU. This will be followed by a vote and whilst the majority of MEPs are in favour of a ban on cages there are a few who have not expressed their support of the campaign. We are urging all MEPs to support an end to cages in the EU by 2027.

Why a ban on cages?

53% of farm animals in Ireland spend part or all of their lives stuck in a cage – that’s over 2 million animals including hens, sows, quail and on some dairy farms calves. Spending your life in an overcrowded cage, never seeing the light of day is not a life worth living. Not only do animals suffer from poor health and well being, these places are breeding grounds for disease. Egg-laying hens in ‘enriched cages’ have the space equivalent to an A4 sheet of paper, which does not allow them to perform basic needs such as dustbathing and flapping their wings. Quail have low cages so they cannot jump, which is a natural behaviour, and they have the amount of space equivalent to a beer mat. Almost all adult female pigs spend nearly half of every year inside cages so narrow they cannot even turn around. All they can do is stand up and lay down. They cannot nurse their young. Calves on some dairy farms are placed in ‘isolation huts’ that are basically small cages. In the EU over 300 million farmed animals live in these inhumane, cramped conditions that do not allow the animals to carry out their natural behaviours. Cages have no place in modern society and should be banished to history books.

What can you do to help?

We need to encourage all of our MEPs to vote in favour of a phase out of cages by 2027. The following MEPs have not supported the initiative so far:

Billy Kelleher – billy.kelleher@europarl.europa.eu;

Colm Markey – colm.markey@europarl.europa.eu;

Deirdre Clune – deirdre.clune@europarl.europa.eu;

Sean Kelly – sean.kelly@europarl.europa.eu;

Maria Walsh – maria.walsh@europarl.europa.eu;

Barry Andrews – barry.andrews@europarl.europa.eu;

Please send an email asking them to support a ban on cages. You can use this template but it will have more impact if you put it in your own words – why is this important to you? Include the following points:

Ahead of the upcoming European Parliament vote on the resolution on the European Citizens’ Initiative “End the Cage Age” (2021/2633(RSP)) planned for the week of 7 June, I ask you to support a phase out of the use of cages in animal farming and vote in favour of the resolution.

1.4 million people across the EU signed the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative and I urge you to spare the unnecessary suffering of the hundreds of millions of farmed animals across the EU, who still spend all or part of their lives in cages, pens or stalls. This includes over 2 million farmed animals in Ireland.

Egg-laying hens in ‘enriched cages’ have only the space of about an A4 sheet of paper, which does not allow them to perform basic needs such as dustbathing and wing-flapping. Rabbits raised for meat are sometimes unable to stretch up or out fully and generally do not have enough space to perform a single hop. Quail have the amount of space equivalent to a beer mat. Almost all adult female pigs spend nearly half of every year inside a cage too narrow to turn around in.

In February this year, over 140 scientists, including the famous ethologist Dr. Jane Goodall, called on the EU to end the use of cages in farming. About a month later, major food producers and retailers including Unilever, Nestlé, Barilla, Ferrero and Mondelēz confirmed that a cage-free future is possible and called on the EU to act.

During the European Parliament Hearing of the Initiative in April, it received support by the vast majority of MEPs, the Committee of the Regions, as well as the EU Health and Agriculture Commissioners.

I am asking you, as a directly elected representative of the European people, to vote in favour of the resolution supporting the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative.

There will also be posts to share this week on social media. Thank you!

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