Today (3 July), Germany passed a regulation introducing a ban on sow stalls. The new regulation, which will be enacted after an 8-year transition period, follows lengthy negotiations, lobbying and public campaigns by numerous animal welfare and consumer protection organisations.
“The regulation will bring a long-awaited end to the suffering of sows in stalls,” said Maria Geusser, our Representative in Germany. “However, the lengthy transition period is unacceptable, especially considering that sow stalls commonly used have been illegal in Germany since 1992.”
Unfortunately, the changes to farrowing crate regulation were less ambitious. Following an excessive transition period of 15 to 17 years, the time sows will have to spend in farrowing crates will be reduced from 35 days to five days.
The need to do more
Germany is one of the biggest pig producers in Europe, with over 1.8 million sows – almost all of them caged. This regulation is long overdue, but Germany is not the only country slow to take action to ban sow stalls.
Whilst some EU countries, such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria, have also enforced new regulations on the use of sow stalls in recent years, the reality is that millions of sows across the EU still suffer, confined in sow stalls for prolonged periods.
Currently in Europe only Norway, Sweden and the UK have a complete ban on the use of sow stalls.
Working together for a 100% cage-free future
In 2018, we led a coalition of 170 environmental, consumer rights and animal protection organisations from across Europe, to launch the End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It has been the most successful ECI for farm animals in European history, with more than 1.5 million signatures from individuals calling for an end to the use of cages for farmed animals in the EU.
Such a huge wave of support for the campaign proves that a future free from cages is a priority for EU citizens and should, therefore, be a priority for EU Institutions and national Governments.