Opening the Cages of the World Draft

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Credit: Compassion in World Farming

For over 50 years, Compassion in World Farming has campaigned for farm animal welfare and sustainable food and farming. Whilst we still have much to do to ensure all farm animals are treated with respect and compassion wherever they may be, it is also important to celebrate our successes.

Today, 2nd October, 2020 is World Farm Animals Day, and today is also the day the European Commission (EU) receives the successful European Citizens’ Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’ which calls on the EU to phase out the use of cages for farmed animals.  It’s a special day.

I’m delighted to share that our ‘End the Cage Age’ ECI collected a record-breaking 1.4 million validated signatures from 28 countries. Not only that but it also passed minimum thresholds in 18 EU Member States making it:-

  • The first ever successful ECI for farmed animals
  • The sixth ever successful ECI
  • The ECI with the highest number of countries above the minimum threshold (sharing the first place) demonstrating a true breadth of support and a whole continent standing up to end the cage age


A sow caged and cruelly confined | Compassion in World Farming

It’s a tremendous success story and I wish to thank all 170 organisations, all staff and supporters, every supportive MEP, our wonderful celebrities and all of you, for joining together in support of the ECI and for sending a resounding message to the European Commission that cage cruelty must stop.  We sincerely hope that under new leadership, the Commission will act responsibly and emphatically and come forward with substantive legislative proposals.  As always, we will keep you informed.

But this is no time to sit back and we do not intend to. Every year over 300 million animals in the European Union still spend all, or a significant part, of their lives imprisoned in cages. Egg-laying hens and rabbits raised for meat are kept in a space about the area of an A4 sheet of paper, and sows spend half of every year inside cages, in which they cannot even turn around. This causes tremendous suffering, as these sentient beings cannot perform most of their natural behaviours. We will not rest until we have ended the cage age.

Quite apart from the animal cruelty involved and the risk of zoonotic diseases, there is a weight of evidence to show that industrial animal farming is a major driver in the decline of the very ecosystem services we need to produce food in the future; being polluting of air and water, devastating to pollinating insects like bees needed for the very existence of a third of all food, and responsible for soil declines now hitting many parts of the world

Opening cages and crates and restoring farm animals to the land will greatly improve their welfare and cut our reliance on chemical pesticides and fertilisers. This in turn can create a varied landscape, bursting with wildflowers, luring back indispensable pollinating insects like bumblebees, as well as providing seeds and insects for a host of birds and other wildlife.

Sow and her piglet taken at Knepp Rewilding Estate | Credit: Philip J Lymbery

There can be no doubt, abandoning factory farming of animals, is a crucial step in the battle to save our own health and our planet.

Thank you for your support. The end of the cage age starts here.

If you agree and wish to see a world without cages and without factory farming please help us.  We are calling on the world’s most influential organisations, including the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, to replace factory farming with a food system that respects animals, nurtures our planet, and reduces the risk of pandemics. 

Please use this link to sign our petition and join the call for a future without factory farming. 



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