On June 22, Animal Equality participated in the parliamentary forum “For the End of Cages in the EU.” A Parliamentary Forum is a platform that allows lawmakers from different countries and political parties to come together and discuss specific topics of common interest. The topic of this forum was a cruel practice Animal Equality has been fighting to end for years—confining farmed animals to tiny cages on factory farms.
During the forum, experts and activists gathered to discuss the distressing reality faced by over 300 million animals in the European Union (EU). Highlighting the urgent need for solutions, Animal Equality was among the participants urging the Spanish government to support a ban on cages within the EU.
This event brought together the Parliamentary Association in Defense of Animal Rights (APDDA), the Senate and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), Animal Equality, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), and Equalia NGO collaborated on the efforts as the “End The Cage Age” coalition.
The “End The Cage Age” Initiative
In June 2021, The European Commission agreed to review an initiative to “Put an End to the Age of Cages”. This initiative aimed to ban the use of cages for animals like hens, calves and pigs. Over 1.4 million citizens signed a petition in support of the initiative. Responding to the public outcry, the European Commission committed to proposing legislation in 2023 to phase out the use of cages, both within EU member states and for imports.
The progress made in Spain signifies a significant leap forward in protecting animals from the cruel meat and dairy industries.. By championing the end to cages, Spain is paving the way for a future where all animals are respected and protected, and empowering consumers to choose plant-based alternatives.
With rich emotional lives and unbreakable family bonds, farmed animals deserve to be protected. You can build a kinder world by replacing animal food products with plant-based ones.
The Motivation Behind Our Ongoing Fight for Change
Among all EU member states, Spain has the highest number of animals confined in cages, reaching a staggering 87%. Animals such as chickens, rabbits, pigs, calves, ducks, quail, and geese are subjected to extreme confinement, barely able to move. For example, hens and rabbits are typically given a space smaller than a standard sheet of paper.
Animals deserve a life free from cages. By joining forces with so many other organizations, we have the power to create a cage-free future for animals on farms. The Spanish government must commit to ending the cage system, one of the cruelest in factory farming.
Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain
How Cages Negatively Affect the Physical and Mental Health of Animals:
- Behavioral Deprivation: Animals in cages are deprived of the ability to express their natural behaviors. For social animals like chickens and pigs, this can be particularly distressing as they are unable to form bonds or exhibit social dynamics.
- Health Problems: Confinement in cages contributes to a range of health issues. For instance, hens in battery cages often suffer from osteoporosis and bone fractures due to the lack of exercise and space to engage, like perching and scratching. The restricted environment also promotes the spread of diseases and parasites, as the animals are kept in close proximity with limited access to fresh air and sunlight.
- Psychological Stress: The constant exposure to confinement causes significant psychological distress for caged animals. They are unable to experience environmental enrichment or exercise their natural instincts. This chronic stress can result in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive movements.
- Lack of Comfort: Cages often provide minimal or inadequate bedding, flooring, or nesting materials, leading to discomfort for the animals. The hard or wire mesh surfaces can cause pain, lesions, and pressure sores.
Breaking the Norm: The Global Movement Towards Banning Animal Cages
Animal Equality, a global leader in animal advocacy, continues to champion the end of cages in factory farming. Our team in Spain has urged the Spanish government to stay committed to the proposed legislation and collaborate with European partners to ensure the intended goals are achieved.
In line with our global mission, Animal Equality has been actively involved in campaigns beyond Spain’s borders to ban cages worldwide. Within the United States, we have been working to address this issue through corporate outreach.
We are working closely with the Open Wing Alliance, joining forces with over 90 organizations worldwide to end the use of cages for hens. Through these campaigns, the coalition has achieved nearly 2,500 corporate cage-free policies, which protect hens from the most intensive forms of confinement. We not only ensure that companies are held accountable, but also mandate that they report on their progress.
This past year, in January, Animal Equality launched a campaign targeting the popular restaurant chain Denny’s in the United States. The campaign urges Denny’s to remove so-called ‘gestation crates’ for pregnant mother pigs in its supply chain. These metal cages prevent the animals from turning around or taking more than one step forward or backward for nearly their entire lives. Despite making a promise more than a decade ago to end the use of gestation crates, Denny’s has failed to fulfill its commitment and now has no public plans to end this practice.
Our team has also been involved in legislative initiatives in the United States to address the extreme confinement of farmed animals. In California, Animal Equality was part of a coalition that helped pass Proposition (“Prop”) 12, a groundbreaking ballot measure that created minimum space requirements for pigs, hens, and calves raised for veal. The meat industry went on to oppose the new law in front of the Supreme Court, who ultimately decided to uphold Prop 12. Animal Equality and other animal protection organizations played a crucial role in this decision as intervening partners in the case.
Join the Movement to End Cage Confinement
Through these initiatives and many others, Animal Equality remains at the forefront of the global effort to end the use of cages in factory farming. Our dedication knows no boundaries, as we continue to advocate for change and work towards a future where all animals are treated with compassion and respect.
Join Animal Equality in our mission to ban cages and create a world where animals are free from confinement. Your donation, no matter how small, can have a significant impact on the lives of countless animals.
As our Matching Gift Campaign draws to a close, now is the perfect time to make a contribution. A generous donor is prepared to match your donation, doubling the effect of your support. By donating today, you can help us reach our global fundraising goal of $500,000 and make a tangible difference for animals in need. Your support matters.
IT’S NOT TOO LATE!
Your chance to impact twice the animals has been extended until July 7th. Help us build a kinder future for all animals. Donate before the new deadlines or until we reach our $500k global goal, and your contribution will be matched!