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Open cages for farmed animals this Christmastime

News Section Icon Published 13/12/2023

Giant gift wrapped cages, the gift wrapping has been partly torn, revealing the cage and the people dressed as pigs and a chicken inside
© Crispin Hughes

Today (13th December), we staged a photo stunt at iconic London landmarks and outside the offices of Defra, to raise awareness of the plight of farmed animals and the urgent need for the Government to End the Cage Age.

Compassion staff who were dressed as cages, partially wrapped as presents, made their way over Westminster Bridge, past Big Ben, through Parliament Square, and onto the Defra offices in Marsham Street. The outfits were designed to highlight the need for the Government to open cages and crates this Christmastime. At Defra we handed out Christmas cards to staff members containing shocking statistics on the number of UK animals caged on farms. Cards were also handed out to the public on route to help raise awareness of our End the Cage Age campaign.

Millions of animals behind bars

Today’s action also aimed to remind the Government of the 400,000 petition signatures we submitted to Defra this time last year, urging them to finally deliver on their promised consultations on caged farming.

Around 8 million UK farmed animals spend most of their lives trapped in cages. This includes millions of laying hens confined to spaces so small, they are unable to fully stretch their wings or display natural behaviours. In addition, 60% of mother pigs in the UK are confined to barren farrowing crates, preventing them from being able to turn around or nuzzle their young.

Broken promises 

Despite the UK and Scottish Governments previously promising consultations to examine the use of cages in farming, both have failed to take any further action. And disappointingly, in June, the UK Government said they “do not consider the time is right to consult on cage reforms”.

New opportunity 

Susie Aliband, our Senior Campaigns Manager, said: “Of all the contraptions used to control animals, the cage is one of the worst. It’s high time we said goodbye to the cruel practice of imprisoning farmed animals behind bars.

“With Steve Barclay announced as new Defra Secretary of State last month, we have a new opportunity to speak out for the farmed animals confined in cages across the UK. It is important that the Government publish their promised consultations on cages and take action to End the Cage Age. A life in a cage is no life at all.”

Take action

Email the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and ask him to reinstate the promised consultation on ending cages for farmed animals.


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