Search icon

Over 326 million rabbits reared in the EU every year

News Section Icon Published 10/04/2012

Compassion is calling for a Rabbit Revolution. We recently carried out an investigation into rabbit farming within the EU. The results were shocking.

Over 326 million rabbits are being farmed in tiny barren battery cages across the EU. That is more than all the EU's beef cattle and pigs combined.

With the recent European ban on barren battery cages for egg laying hens it is disappointing to see the legacy of the cage alive and well, being used to cram up to 10 fattening rabbits into a cage.

Dil Peeling, Compassion in World Farming's Director of Public Affairs says: "It's a scandal that cages like these have been scrapped for egg laying hens, but are still seen to be suitable for rabbits. There's no alternative - barren battery cages have got to go!"

Farmed rabbits in battery cages suffer from a variety of diseases and weakened bones. Countries such as France use more antibiotics per kg of meat to prevent illness and deaths in farmed rabbit than for any other farm animal.

Yet the mortality rates across the industry are at 20%. That is the highest average of any farmed animal species.

The investigation found:

  • Tiny, barren metal battery cages were being used to house both breeding does and their young offspring reared for the meat.
  • Up to 10 fattening rabbits would be kept in a cage with each rabbit given less space than an A4 sheet of paper.
  • Bins full of dead rabbits highlight mortality rates higher than any other average for farmed animal species.

Rabbits could soon overtake pigs to become the third most farmed animal in the world. Dil says: "The sheer numbers involved in this industry alone make the truth of rabbit factory farming a real horror. With the addition of high death rates and a life led without any stimulation or interaction it is an animal welfare tragedy.

"We urge consumers to ask where their rabbit meat comes from and to refuse to buy factory farmed rabbit."


You are using an outdated browser which we do not support. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

If you have any further questions regarding this, or any other matter, please get in touch with us at We aim to respond to all queries within two working days. However, due to the high volume of correspondence that we receive, it may occasionally take a little longer. Please do bear with us if this is the case. Alternatively, if your query is urgent, you can contact our Supporter Engagement Team on +44 (0)1483 521 953 (lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).