ROME—The Italian coalition, End the Cage Age, published today a ranking of European countries, which shows the percentage of farm animals still kept in cages. Of the over 300 million animals who each year are caged in the EU, over 45 million are in Italy. The coalition is calling on citizens to engage with the relevant Ministers of Health and Agricultural Policies, asking them to work on the transition to cage-free systems both in Italy and in the rest of the European Union.
In the European Union, most hens, sows, rabbits, quails, ducks and geese are raised in cages that critically limit their ability to move, forcing them to live a miserable life full of suffering, far from meeting minimum animal welfare objectives. Sensitivity for this issue is increasingly reflected amongst European citizens. Last year, following the campaign efforts associated with the End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative, more than 1 million people signed a petition to end the use of cages in the EU. In Italy, over 90,000 signatures were collected and authenticated by the Ministry of the Interior.
Today the Italian End the Cage Age coalition, composed of Animal Equality, Animalisti Italiani, CIWF, ENPA, Humane Society International, LAV, Legambiente, Lega Nazionale del Cane, and OIPA, published a ranking of countries based on the percentage of animals raised in cages. In Italy almost all sows, rabbits and quails, as well as 62% of all laying hens are still kept in cages and it’s necessary to act as soon as possible to change this situation. Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova and Minister of Health Roberto Speranza are responsible for implementing a transition to cage-free systems.
The End the Cage coalition asks citizens, starting today and in the coming days, to send tweets – using constructive language – addressed to the two ministers, asking them to commit publicly and concretely to phase out cages in our country. While Minister Speranza has already declared his willingness to start the dialogue on the transition to cageless systems for sows, so far there has been no reaction from Minister Bellanova.
The coalition declared: “Phasing out cages on farms is urgent because it responds to the pressing ethical request of millions of European citizens, and it is consistent with the growing attention in Europe for animal welfare and sustainability, as outlined in the Green Deal.
“Stopping the suffering of millions of animals is the ethical duty of every civil and democratic country. We hope that our Ministers will initiate public debate for a transition towards alternative systems as soon as possible, to ensure that our country does not fall behind in defending animals, and becomes a leader in the EU.”
The European Citizens’ Initiative is an official and unique tool provided by the European Union to influence political decision-makers. It involves the collection of at least 1 million signatures. Each signature is verified through a specific process by the Member States.
The End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative has collected over 1.5 million signatures that are still being validated in all Member States. In Italy validation has already been completed, confirming the validity of over 90,000 signatures. When this process is completed in all Member States, the signatures will be delivered to the Commission, which will be able to pronounce positively or negatively on the request, possibly starting a legislative process to phase out cages.
The End the Cage Age Initiative was the result of the coordination of over 170 animal, environmental and consumer protection organizations across Europe, including 20 in Italy.