July 26, 2021


EU ministers call for full impact assessment on impact of ending cage farming



EU ministers have recently called on the European Commission to conduct a full impact assessment of a campaign to end caging farm animals, as well as to provide funding for farmers transitioning from such systems.


The aim of the campaign, which received 1.4 million signatures from across the European Union, is to ban the caging of farm animals such as hens, rabbits, geese, ducks, female pigs and calves.


While many delegations took the floor to express their support for the initiative, they also pointed out that such a move could potentially have a negative impact on farmers, both in terms of the costs of the transition and a loss of competitiveness vis-à-vis non-EU countries. They also pointed out the need to apply the same animal welfare standards to agricultural products imported from non-EU countries.


On June 30, the European Commission adopted a communication responding to the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) behind the campaign. The commission concluded that it intends to propose to phase out and finally prohibit the use of cage systems, for all requested species and categories under conditions (including the length of a transitional period) to be determined based on opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).


An impact assessment will take account of animal welfare benefits, the social and economic needs of the farming sector in the EU, the international trade dimension and environmental aspects. This will be included as one of the key objectives of the revision of the animal welfare legislation that the commission has committed to propose by the last quarter of 2023.


These elements will be taken into account when determining the length of a reasonable transition period and the accompanying and supporting measures to facilitate the transition. The commission will assess in particular the feasibility of working towards the proposed legislation entering into force from 2027.


- Consilium (EU)