Together with over 170 organisations across Europe, over three years, a European Citizens' Initiative, we set out on a mission to end the cruel cage farming in Europe. This Initiative was the largest political push for farmed animal welfare in European history, and on October 2020, the EU Petition was officially handed over with 1.6 million citizens signing against cages! But the campaign is not over yet, here are your frequently asked questions about #EndTheCageAge.
What is an ECI?
An ECI is a European Citizens’ Initiative. It is a chance for European Citizens to actively voice their opinions and take part in the policy making process. It allows individuals to call on the European Commission to discuss certain issues and propose new legislations on the matter and, with sufficient public support, those matters will then be discussed in the relevant committees and answered by the Commission.
What happens next with the ECI?
A public consultation will be launched and by the end of 2022, an impact assessment will be finalised. This impact assessment will play an important role in determining a reasonable transition period and possible measures to support producers during the transition period.
The end of caged farming will be approached species by species, so that new housing systems are suited to their natural behaviours and characteristics and fulfil their needs.
Besides the impact assessment, the proposal will also be based on the scientific opinions of the European Food Safety Authority. These expert opinions should all be finished by early 2023. Afterwards the Commission is planning to put forward a legislative proposal in late 2023.
The Commission gave a positive response, does that mean we won?
The positive answer by the European Commission is certainly a huge step towards an end of caged farming in the EU. However, a lengthy legislative process still lies ahead of us.
How long will it take until cages are actually banned in the EU?
The earliest we can realistically expect the prohibition of caged farming to enter into force is 2027. This time frame is needed to draft legislation, pass it through Council and Parliament and give producers a reasonable transition period.
What can go wrong now?
If the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission cannot agree on a legislative text, the ban on caged farming could be significantly delayed. However, since the Parliament has already spoken out and we see a lot of momentum member states and from industry players in favour, the chances of it working out are quite high.
Who makes the final decision on a ban of cages in European farming?
The final decision will be taken in so called Triloge Discussions. The European Commission will propose a legislative text and then the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will have to discuss it and agree on a final version.
Can I still do anything to help?
The responsible ministers in member states will play an important role in the decision making process. It is important to keep talking about the #EndTheCageAge ECI to make sure that it remains visible and politicians are aware that this is still a relevant topic for Europeans! If you want to do more, please visit the ECI Website (that also allows you to directly tweet at your representatives)!
Why is there a transition period? And why is it so long?
The European Union first needs time to propose and agree on legislation. Once that happened, a transition period will start that gives producers time to change their farms to comply with the new regulations. The prohibition of caged farming will affect farmers all across the EU and they need sufficient time and support to comply with the new standards.
Will cheap imports of animal products from farms outside the EU that practice caged farming flood our markets?
The EU will certainly have to think about this issue. According to World Trade Organisation rules, the EU has the right to ban certain third country imports that do not meet EU standards, so that would be a potential solution.
The impact assessment that will be carried out by the end of 2022 will evaluate how big of a problem this will be and propose solutions!