The new secret of the Cage Age
In the winter of 2015/16, Compassion in World Farming Investigators visited multiple quail farms in 4 European countries – Italy, France, Portugal and Greece. Three of these countries (Italy, France and Portugal) are in the top four EU quail producing countries.
This ground-breaking investigation – the first ever international expose into this species – uncovered an industry that promotes a luxury product. But our findings show it is a cruel luxury.
There is no species-specific European legislation to protect quail. The result is immense suffering. Isn’t it time to End the Cage Age for quail?
Will you take just a short moment to watch our investigation film? You may find the contents upsetting. If so, then please click here to call on the European Commission to stop this cruelty.
EU Quail Investigation
PLEASE BE AWARE THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SCENES OF A DISTRESSING NATURE.
Investigation into the intensive farming of quail within the EU
A caged existence:
Over 140 million quail are farmed in the EU every year. The vast majority of these are for meat, and those quail will spend their short lives on overcrowded factory farm floors or confined to cages. Aged just five weeks, they will be sent for slaughter.
Over 90% of egg-laying quail are trapped in cages. Their lives are also pitifully short, at just five months.
Our investigators documented appalling suffering across the industry, with quail who were confined to tiny cages of bare wire suffering from feather loss and injuries such as bumblefoot, unable to express many of their natural behaviours and with no enrichment.
Factory farming in miniature
This first-of-a-kind investigation shows quail being raised in appalling environments. In one farm, a dead quail was left in the egg collecting tray, others were found decomposing on the floor.
All factory farmed quail are kept in overcrowded conditions, and meat quail can each have a space allowance as small as a standard beer mat.
The conditions found in these farms were all similar. And they are unlikely to be confined to just these farms, or even just these countries, but will be reflective of the vast majority of quail farming across all of Europe.
Higher welfare quail farming systems do exist, such as some ‘free to fly’ systems, but the majority of Europe’s quail are confined to factory farms and the miserable living conditions that are inherent in these systems. Please consider taking action to End the Cage Age for all quail now.
Italy is a real leader in the quail sector. It’s embraced the factory-farming model of low welfare for high profits. The barren battery cage is the go-to system for the industry here and firmly entrenched in their rearing techniques.
One thing I won’t forget is the quail's voice. As I approached the factory buildings I could hear the call of the quail from inside. They have a beautiful voice…the sort of voice you can imagine hearing in wild forests in far off lands – yet here they were imprisoned in sheds, stuffed into tiny spaces unable to behave in ways that satisfy even their most basic needs in the wild.
Each shed full of quail being raised for meat was densely packed. They had little room to move. One farm alone had a capacity to raise 800,000 meat quail every year, in eight sheds, each as crowded as the other.
As I walked in to the dark, humid room where the egg-laying quail were, I was struck by a stark juxtaposition. The quail’s little voices, calling out, were delicate and beautiful. The cages, on the other hand, were harsh, crude, ugly contraptions. Tiny black eyes watched me through the filthy bars.
Quail is a year round product here, seen as both luxurious and gourmet. But its roots are in factory farming. The egg producing birds live in the same squalid conditions that have become the norm across the industry.
This is factory farming in miniature, and it involves the lives of millions.Please help End the Cage Age for Europe’s quail