Czechia sets example for EU and bans cages for hens


Czechia sets example for EU and bans cages for hens

18 September 2020
Společnost pro zvířata
On 16 September 2020, the lower house of the Parliament of the Czech Republic agreed to ban cages for laying hens from 2027. In Czechia, approximately 4.5 million hens are raised in cages each year. The new ban, which still needs a formal approval by the upper house of the Czech Parliament and the President, will cover cages for both laying hens and laying breeders.

Our Czech member organisation Společnost pro zvířata, who has been campaigning for the ban of cages since 1998, strongly welcomes the deputies' votes, calling it "another step in stopping the suffering of these animals". And Romana Šonkova, Compassion in World Farming’s Representative in Czechia, commented: "Hens are not egg machines. They are sentient beings. They are capable of suffering, but also of enjoying life. Today's victory finally gives them a chance for a better life.”

In the EU, barren cages for hens have been banned, yet the so-called ‘enriched' cages are still allowed. These ‘enriched’ cages are equally cruel, restricting each hen to a space equivalent to an A4 sheet of paper and preventing them from performing many natural behaviors, such as dustbathing and wing-flapping.

Every year, over 300 million pigs, hens, rabbits, ducks quail and calves are imprisoned in cages across the EU. The ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizens’ Initiative recently collected over 1 million signatures from EU citizens, who called for an end to this cruelty. The initiative is also supported by a group of cross-party MEPs.

Czechia joins countries like Luxembourg, Austria and Germany as one of the progressive countries in Europe which have made committments or have already banned cages for farmed animals."Just this year, Slovakia agreed to phase out cages for laying hens and Germany banned cruel crates for pregnant sows. The EU should not fall behind. Only then can it continue to call itself a leader in animal welfare"; comments Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU.