The European Parliament voted today in Strasbourg with a very large majority in favour of Stefan Eck’s own initiative report asking for a substantial change in the way rabbits are farmed for meat in the EU. The Parliament also adopted a crucial amendment requiring the European Commission to come up – within an appropriate time frame – with a legislative proposal on minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits.
The last-minute amendment put forward by the EPP and which would have seriously jeopardised any progress in moving towards legislation was fortunately rejected as a result of our intensive lobby actions jointly with our partner Compassion in World Farming.
Rabbits are the second most numerous farmed terrestrial animal in the EU, with more than 340 million animals reared for slaughter each year. The industry is outdated and rabbits are kept almost exclusively in wire cages, without any opportunity to express normal behaviour. The adoption of this important report paves the way to the preparation and adoption of guides to good practice, followed by the publication of a Commission Recommendation on rabbit health, welfare, and housing and, eventually, a legislative proposal that will hopefully lead to a shift away from caged farming towards systems that are more respectful of the ethological requirements of rabbits.