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Compassion appalled by Government response to End the Cage Age petition

News Section Icon Published 25/03/2019

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Earlier this month, we joined forces with other animal welfare organisations to back a parliamentary petition calling on the Government to end the use of cages for UK farm animals.

The petition has already gained more than 63,000 signatures, so we are well on our way to the 100,000 signature target needed to be considered for a parliamentary debate.

Extremely disappointed

At reaching 10,000 signatures, the Government responded to the petition, however, we are extremely disappointed by this response.

We are appalled that the Government indicates the main determining factor in protecting animal welfare is ‘good stockmanship and correct application of husbandry standards’. Stockmanship is of course very important, but it is crucial to start with the right type of farming system. A sow confined in a crate in which she cannot even turn around will inevitably suffer, even with the best stockmanship.

Robust scientific evidence

Furthermore, the Government states that cages have been banned where there is clear scientific evidence that they are detrimental to animal health and welfare. Cage systems are cruel and prevent so many essential natural behaviours. There is a wealth of robust scientific evidence to demonstrate that enriched cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for sows severely compromise welfare.

James West, our Senior Policy Manager, says: “The Government has stated on numerous occasions that the UK will become the global leader in farm animal welfare once we leave the EU. Their refusal to even acknowledge that cage systems are detrimental to the welfare of farm animals flies in the face of this commitment.

“If the Government is serious about this ambition, it must embrace a cage free future in order to protect millions of farm animals every year across the UK. Numerous countries across the EU have already taken steps to End the Cage Age and the UK must set an example of a more humane farming system if it is not to be left behind.”

Please sign the petition to End the Cage Age today.