Javier Moreno Urges Senate to Ban Cages for Over 300 Million Animals in the EU

Javier Moreno Urges Senate to Ban Cages for Over 300 Million Animals in the EU

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality in Spain, spoke about the urgency of banning cages for animals, like pigs and hens, and the work of Animal Equality to denounce this cruel factory farming practice.

On June 22, 2023, Javier Moreno from Animal Equality, was invited to speak at the Spanish Senate on behalf of the over 300 million animals in the European Union  that live their entire lives inside cages. During the speech, Moreno spoke about the work that Animal Equality has done in Spain and around the world to expose the mistreatment of animals in industrial farms and raise awareness of the harmful effects of cages. Animal Equality is urging lawmakers to take action to improve the lives of these animals by banning cages in the European Union.

Javier Moreno’s Full Speech to the Spanish Government:

I am here to talk about the situation of animal welfare in the European animal agriculture industry, but I am going to focus on Spain.

More than 33 million animals live in cages or spend most of their lives in cages within Europe. Spain is the European country with the largest number of animals in cages, which accounts for about 90 million animals in cages.

We could say that there are two caged animals for every human in Spain.

At Animal Equality, we have been documenting the situation of animals on factory farms for more than 15 years, conducting investigations on farms and slaughterhouses. Our work is not only in Spain, but around the world…Society has the right to know this information.

We are talking about the meat industry being one of the most concealed in the world. When we started Animal Equality in 2006, one of our goals was for society to know the story of animals on factory farms

Consumers have the right to know how the animals are suffering in factory farms and in slaughterhouses before consuming the products in supermarkets.

A small warning for my presentation: I had a hard time selecting images from factory farms for my presentation that are “soft.”  Throughout the presentation I will talk about issues that we have encountered in our investigations that are not from specific cases. 

We are talking about the fact that animal abuse in factory farming is systemic. During the presentation, I will talk about some of these issues, but many of the images from what we have found will not be shown.

We are discussing the initiative to end the use of cages and why it is crucial for our society to make this change. As we progress, more and more people are recognizing that confining animals to cages for their entire lives raises ethical concerns. This is reflected in various surveys that indicate a growing number of individuals who oppose this practice.

Along with non-profits, civil society organizations have found that consumers are increasingly concerned about the welfare of animals. They are concerned that we keep animals locked up, overcrowded in factory farms for life without being able to exhibit any natural behaviors.

Through our investigation work we have brought this issue to the public’s attention so that we can begin to create legislative initiatives – such as this one, to end the use of cages in Europe.

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

But what does it mean to live in a cage?

These figures that I am giving, 300 million animals in cages, 90 million of them in cages (only in Spain), are figures that can be overwhelming. 

Animal exploitation is something so expansive, and the suffering we cause to animals is of such magnitude, that it is often difficult to visualize these figures. 

With our investigations, we want to put a face to this animal abuse, to make the lives of animals in factory farms visible. 


This image that you are seeing is of a farm in Spain, we took it with the Canadian photojournalist, Jo-Anne McArthur. 

In Spain there are currently 68% of chickens that live in cages equivalent to 32 million chickens

In recent years, since Animal Equality began working in Spain, we can say that there have been very important advances for hens confined to cages within egg production. 

In 2017, 93% of chickens were caged. Now, years later, we are talking about 68%. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we can see this progress.

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

Our goal when we started this work was to involve other sectors, such as distribution and supermarkets, in committing to animal protection policies that would end the sale of eggs from caged hens, thus moving society in that direction.

So, regarding cages in egg production, there is still work to be done, but we can say that the situation is fairly positive. 

Still, Spain ranks second in terms of the number of chickens in cages, only behind Poland. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we can talk about encouraging progress in this sector. 


In Spain, nearly 99% of rabbits are raised in cages. Also, as I was saying, I have used soft images due to the severity of this cruelty. For more than two years during our investigations into the rabbit meat industry in Spain, we found rabbits forced to partake in cannibalism due to extreme confinement, with injured animals ignored and never receiving veterinary treatment.

We have even seen a veterinarian slamming a rabbit against a wall in front of us, indicating how violence in factory farms and the treatment of animals is normalized.

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

Rabbits raised in factory farming often face cruel and inhumane conditions, and are confined in unsanitary cages for most of their lives.

The animal agriculture industry is facing serious challenges due to new regulations that call for the end of cages for all species. It’s crucial that the government of Spain is fully committed to complying with these European standards.

Lobbyists are sure to resist any new regulations that threaten their profits and will try to do everything possible so that this legislation does not affect their industry. 

It’s critical that we raise awareness about the inhumane treatment of rabbits in factory farming and engage in serious conversations about the conditions in which they are raised. The situation for these animals is dire, and it’s unacceptable for a modern society to allow such suffering and cruelty to persist.

And finally, regarding our investigation, here is a reflection that I want to share: 

Over 15 years of investigative reporting on factory farms, we’ve seen some of the biggest brutality filmed on camera.

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

What does this mean? Our investigators were present with a camera, and the operators were aware that they were being recorded. In this context of being monitored, we have observed operators pushing sick pigs against a wall and committing other acts of brutality. Workers were aware of the cameras recording them, and this highlights the extent to which violence against animals is internalized in industrial farms, where the animals are viewed as commodities to generate profits.


Regarding the subject of cruelty that pigs endure in Spain, here is an image of a mother pig in a gestation crate.

In Spain, 88% of pigs are confined to gestation crates. Mother pigs spend up to five weeks in these crates barely able to move.

Cruel confinement is a common issue in farrowing crates, which are restrictive pens used in the industry to keep mother pigs in place and prevent her from accidentally crushing her piglets. Farrowing crates can prevent mother pigs from engaging in important maternal behaviors, such as nursing and grooming their piglets. These animals suffer five weeks under these conditions. 

I’ve been on factory farms myself for undercover investigations. I’ve taken photos too, along with other investigators. When you’re on these farms and you have seen animals suffering in these conditions, it’s hard to imagine that this cruelty is legal and standard practice within the EU.

I’m not asking exceptional questions that the industry can answer with ‘No.’ The crates we’re showing are standard and legal in this industry, so they are representative of the conditions animals are kept in.

Therefore, as a society we have to ask ourselves if this is ethical? Are there other alternatives? What does it say about us as a society when we are keeping millions of animals in these conditions?

When we speak out against the use of farrowing crates, the industry often justifies their use by claiming that they are necessary to protect piglets from being accidentally crushed by their mother. However, when I show an image of a mother pig confined in a farrowing crate to the public, I am not witnessing any evidence of such “care” being provided.

Where Do Recommendations or Advances for Animal Protections Come From?

Animal Equality’s work and the legislation we are trying to achieve in animal welfare demands a gradual shift. In order to bring about legislative changes in society, it is often necessary to first raise awareness and make a problem visible. 

Bringing a problem to the public agenda is an important first step towards creating change and addressing issues in society. This involves raising awareness about a particular issue, educating the public, and generating support for change.

And it is precisely where we are now with the hope to ban cages. This is not only a question of activists or that of certain non-profits telling government officials that they have to end cages in factory farming – this matter concerns scientific organizations, experts in animal welfare, and all the related documentation that exists on this subject. As a society, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves difficult questions about the practices and policies that we accept and tolerate.

For example, regulations that require animals to be stunned before slaughter are an important step forward in terms of animal welfare and raising awareness about the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses. 

I have seen slaughterhouses in Mexico, for example, where we are working to have that legislation as well, where there are pigs that are suffering for ten minutes before dying.

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

As a society, we must progress and implement regulations that end the most inhumane practices that are no longer acceptable in the common sense of our society. Such advances should be celebrated as positive progress.

Obviously, there is going to be resistance from extremely powerful lobbyists who are fully integrated within political and legislative institutions controlling this industry. For example, the tobacco lobby will do everything possible to try to stop any legislative advance that puts their economic interests at stake.

Yet, in the face of an organized civil society, faced with consumers who desire to understand the journey of the products to their supermarket shelves, and the processes they undergo, we hold the power to challenge, so to speak, this Goliath that is the meat industry, and to make progress in that direction. 

Right now, the European Commission is going to propose a directive that will establish the gradual elimination of cages in factory farming. This is supported by committees of scientific experts that analyze the situation of animals within factory farming.

Scientific reports are necessary to support legislative changes to end the practice of confining animals in cages, where they are unable to exhibit natural behaviors and spend their entire lives in crowded conditions.

But of course, by viewing images of animals confined to cramped cages, you don’t need to have a master’s degree in animal welfare to know that this is a form of animal abuse. The truth is, if we were talking about dogs, cats or other animals, those responsible would be in jail.

In conclusion, I would like to share a quote from Clara Campoamor that reflects the ultimate goal of this discussion, which is to envision a world without cages.

Above all, I am a humanist

Clara Campoamor 

I can’t think of a more suitable place for what we are talking about here today regarding the advancements toward a more compassionate society.

For me, it is an honor to be in the Clara Campoamor room. I think that one of Clara’s legacies, when she says “I am a humanist,” is completely connected to what we are talking about. As a society, we are trying to move towards a more humane world for animals, towards a society that stops caging.  Ending the use of cages in factory farming can help to improve animal protection laws, reduce environmental impacts, and promote healthier and more sustainable food choices.


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.

We need to move towards a society where images like this become part of the past. 

Thank you so much,

Javier Moreno, Co-founder and Communications Director of Animal Equality Spain

Javier Moreno Urges Senate to Ban Cages for Over 300 Million Animals in the EU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top