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European Citizens' Initiative

End the Cage Age

Submission and examination

The ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative was submitted to the Commission on 2 October 2020, having gathered 1,397,113 statements of support. See press release.

The organisers met with the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová and the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides on 30 October 2020.

A public hearing took place at the European Parliament on 15 April 2021. See press release.

The initiative was debated at the European Parliament’s plenary session on 10 June 2021. In the resolution adopted on the same day, the European Parliament expressed its support for the initiative. See European Parliament’s press release.

The Commission adopted a Communication on 30 June 2021 setting out the actions it intends to take in response to the initiative 'End the Cage Age’. See press release and Questions & Answers.

Answer of the European Commission

Main conclusions of the Communication:

In its response to the ECI, the Commission commits to table, by the end of 2023, a legislative proposal to phase out, and finally prohibit, the use of cage systems for all animals mentioned in the Initiative.

In particular, the Commission’s proposal will concern:

  • Animals already covered by legislation: laying hens, sows and calves;
  • Other animals mentioned in the ECI:rabbits, pullets, layer breeders, broiler breeders, quail, ducks and geese. For these animals, the Commission has already asked EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) to complement the existing scientific evidence to determine the conditions needed for the prohibition of cages.

As part of its Farm to Fork Strategy, the Commission has already committed to propose a revision of the animal welfare legislation, including on transport and rearing. This legislation was submitted to a fitness check, concluded in September 2022. Its results, presented in a Commission Staff Working Document, confirms the need to revise and modernise the EU animal welfare legislation, and provides a good basis for this revision. See more information on the revision.

In parallel to the legislation and to facilitate a balanced and economically viable transition to cage-free farming, the Commission will seek specific supporting measures in key related policy areas, such as trade and research and innovation. In particular, the new Common Agricultural Policy will provide financial support and incentives – such as the new eco-schemes instrument – to help farmers upgrade to more animal-friendly facilities in line with the new standards. Additionally, Member States can draw from the Just Transition Fund and Recovery and Resilience Facility to support farmers in the adaptation to cage-free systems.

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