Mother pig and piglets in cage

Major EU Member States support ban on cages for farmed animals

The group of Member States, also referred to as the “Vught Alliance”, want a new progressive framework for animal rights and welfare


12 October 2021 – The Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden have drafted a position paper which presented key changes they wanted to see in the future revision of EU legislation on animal welfare, including that of banning cages for farmed animals. It urged the European Commission to take their suggestions into consideration when revising all animal welfare legislation in the upcoming evaluation of this policy area.

The document submitted by the respective governments to be discussed in this week’s AGRIFISH Council Meeting addresses several important animal welfare topics.

“This is a strong, ambitious and clear message sent from Member States that changes to animal welfare needs to be high on the European Commission's agenda.

It calls for many of the same changes that over 1.4 million European Citizens also called for with the End the Cage Age ECI as well addresses several other urgent animal welfare issues, such as minimum requirements for pullets, broiler breeders, laying hen breeders, rabbits, turkeys and dairy cows. 

However, several important points were left out. We need to not only phase out caged keeping but ensure that all farmed animals have outdoor access or, at the very least, access to daylight. We hope that this position paper is taken into serious consideration but urge the European Commission to go beyond its demands when revising the animal welfare legislation.”

Pierre Sultana, Director at the European Policy office at global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS.

The evaluation on EU Animal Welfare legislation is due to take place over the next 3 years which will including the consideration of and suggestions of all Member States, the reports of Committees of Inquiry within the European parliament, as well as the responses to a public consultation due to be launched later this month. Sultana concluded by stating that, “we encourage all EU citizens to take part and express their views in this key consultation to voice the need for the immediate change.”

All legislation concerning animal welfare will be revisited and, where deemed necessary, revised. This offers a unique chance to improve animal welfare standards across the European Union, while also taking important steps to protect public health and prevent further pandemics.


End the cage age

Everything you need to know about the #EndTheCageAge European Citizens' Initiative

See more

FOUR PAWS on Social Media

Stay up to date on this topic and on all FOUR PAWS activities on our social media channels:

or subscribe to FOUR PAWS International newsletter.


FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

Share now!