Yesterday, (8 October 2019) NGOs, MEPs and EU citizens came together in Brussels - the heart of the EU - to celebrate the end of a historic European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) while sending a strong and clear message to the EU Commission and the Council of the EU. The ECI gained 1,617,405 signatures, making history for farm animals.
An eye-catching event
The event included Ode to the Pig, an eye-catching 10-metre sculpture of a pig jumping to freedom, while videos and speeches were shown on two screens within the eyeline of the EU Commission and EU Council buildings.
An 18-metre circular banner with the message “For animals, end caged farming”, was placed in the middle of Schuman roundabout, visible from all surrounding buildings and pedestrians on the roundabout.
A united front
NGO representatives delivered passionate speeches on the significance of this ECI for farm animals and EU citizens, as well as on the extraordinary collaborative effort of over 170 NGOs.
Our CEO, Philip Lymbery, said: “We did it! All of us came together, as friends, as comrades, as animal advocates. And you know what - we beat the system - we got the continent standing up, to say no to cages.”
Martina Stephany, Director for Farm Animals and Nutrition at Four Paws, said: “This ECI has shown that European citizens care a lot about what is happening in the livestock industry. They stand with organisations from different countries and backgrounds, unified behind the goal to End the Cage Age. We will make sure that their voice will be heard. Today this movement made history, but we will not rest until we reach our goal and cages are banned all over Europe.”
MEPs continued by stressing the importance of the End the Cage Age ECI and how its result dictates to the EU Institutions that the time for immediate action has come.
“The EU claims to have the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but still locks up animals in cages. Hundreds of millions of farm animals in the EU suffer daily, unable to express their natural behaviour”, said Anja Hazekamp, MEP, President of the Animal Welfare Intergroup and Co-Chair of the Cage-Free Working Group. “It's high time the EU entered the 21st century. The torture of these innocent, sentient beings must end, once and for all."
Angelina Berlingò, an Italian citizen, delivered her speech representing more than 1.6 million EU Citizens. She campaigned for the ECI and single-handedly collected more than 2,000 digital and paper signatures. It’s been a great personal journey to be part of the campaign’s general success”, said Angelina. “The result of this petition brings hope for a better world for both human and non-human animals. I’m here today to shout once again: End the Cage Age!”
The End the Cage Age ECI closed on 11 September, 2019, having gained over 1.6 million signatures during a 12-month period. This marks one of the most significant days for farm animals that the world has seen.