California recently hit the headlines for tabling proposals to ban the sale of meat and eggs from animals reared using certain kinds of extreme confinement. A focus of California’s case is pig farrowing crates, which also exist in the UK.
Here in the UK, there are over 1,000 livestock ‘mega-farms’ which can each hold over 82,000 egg-laying hens, more than 125,000 broiler birds (birds raised for meat), or 20,000 pigs.
So, calling ourselves world leaders when intensive farms like these not only exist but appear to be fast multiplying, is dishonest at best.
It is not just California breaking the mold though, Switzerland has also been creating waves.
The country made history earlier this month in allowing the public to vote on whether they would like to see factory farming as they knew it, banned.
Sadly, despite this landmark opportunity, the vote wasn’t successful with many voters already satisfied that the country has some of the strictest animal welfare regulations in the world. But we cannot ignore the opportunity this vote proposed and the hope it may give to improvements for animals.
And finally, in September, Denmark paved the way for a brighter future with The Danish Minister for Food declaring a ban on the production of caged eggs in Denmark, beginning in 2023. Following a survey conducted on behalf of Animal Protection Denmark, it was found that three out of four surveyed Danes believed caged eggs should be banned.
These opinions are not unique to Denmark, however.
Despite the UK banning battery cages, we still allow 'enriched cages' in the UK, a decision unpopular with much of the British public. A 2020 poll carried out by Compassion in World Farming and YouGov found that 88% of the British public believed using cages in farming is cruel to farm animals, and a massive 77% supported a complete ban on the use of cages in farming altogether.
It is heartening to see a mindset for better is going global, but in amongst so many fighting for change, we cannot allow the UK, who share these views, to fall behind.
With the interrelationship between animal welfare, human wellbeing and the environment becoming ever clearer, we must stave off future climate and animal welfare emergencies by acting now. This is why we are continuing to apply pressure to the UK Government to not only launch a consultation on the caged keeping of hens, but to finally deliver for all farm animals and #EndTheCageAge entirely.