End the cage age: Investigation by Essere Animali reveals suffering on quail farms in Italy


End the cage age: Investigation by Essere Animali reveals suffering on quail farms in Italy

4 November 2022
Essere Animali

In coordination with the End The Cage Age initiative, the investigative team at Essere Animali has just released a shocking video that exposes how quails are being treated across two farms in Lombardy and Veneto, Italy.

Their footage in particular shows a number of disturbing scenes:

  • Cramped quarters: Quails are being raised in sheds, crammed into bare cages with no source of entertainment or stimulation. Only 1 metre long by 0.5 metres wide, 50 quails are stuffed into each cage, causing emotional and physical issues
  • Fatal flaws: Cages are floored with wire mesh, which can malform and injure the inhabitants’ legs and risk infections and diseases. It can even be deadly to chicks, as their feet can get stuck
  • Animals exhibiting physical and psychological distress: Essere Animali’s investigation reveals many quails with plumage loss, and several others dying or dead. Those that are alive are clearly in a great state of anxiety, and when startled, are seen trying to escape - often flying into the upper floor of their cages and risking serious injuries.

What’s more, these issues can cause huge problems across the entire flock… as well as for people. With each day a struggle, the immune systems of these quails can suffer, increasing their chances of catching and spreading diseases in such close quarters. In turn, this can incur the use of antibiotics - which are regularly used on animals in intensive farming systems - spurring on the antimicrobial resistance crisis that is affecting animals and humans alike.

These quails deserve truly cage-free lives

The good news? We’re already on the road to changing the futures of these quails. On 30 June 2021, the European Commission promised to ban the use of cages on farms by 2027, spurred on by incredible results of the End The Cage Age ECI

But, as our campaigning in this area shows, the fight is far from over. A legislative proposal will be presented by 2023, detailing how cages can be phased out and what could happen next. However, every proposal must be adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Further, getting these proposals right will be critical for farm animals, to ensure that cages are truly banned and not simply replaced by other forms of confinement: for instance, the ‘enriched cages’ that the EU offered as a replacement for battery cages in 2012, that still do not sufficiently enable hens to experience good lives.

The End The Cage Age coalition is now working tirelessly to ensure the Commission delivers on its commitments. On the same hand, EU nations should seize this opportunity to take a stand against cages - showing there’s no place for them in the future of farming.

“The role of Italy and of the new Italian government can be fundamental in this important step,” a representative from the End The Cage Age coalition stated. “We call on Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Agriculture, and Orazio Schillaci, Minister of Health, to take a clear position against the use of cages in animal farming, supporting the commitment made by the European Commission, as well as promoting the urgent adoption of legislation at the national level that prohibits their use”.