Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden has lent her support to a campaign urging lawmakers to ban the use of cages in UK farming.
Animal Welfare organization Compassion in World Farming delivered a petition to both the UK and Scottish governments in December. It had 392,063 signatures. The petition highlighted the plight of more than 16 million farm animals that are subjected to cage containment each year. While the UK has previously stated to have “world leading” animal welfare, this has been questioned.
Campaigners claim that both governments had promised to start consultations on the use of cages. However, neither have taken any meaningful action. The UK government said it would bring forward talks on banning farrowing crates for sows and cages for egg-laying hens last June. Similarly, the Scottish government was expected to begin the consultation process in earnest last year. However, no progress has been made on either side.
Meaden, one of the petition’s signers, expressed her disappointment that cage farming was no closer to being stopped. “Both the UK and Scottish Governments have failed to deliver their commitments to review caged farming. This simply isn’t good enough!” she said in a statement. “Cages inflict immense misery on enormous numbers of UK farm animals. They are cruel and unnecessary, as higher-welfare cage-free systems are viable. It’s time for UK and Scottish Governments to free millions of animals from a life of suffering behind bars.”
The petition to ban cage farming
In London, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was presented with the petition. Meanwhile, the Scottish government received the document at its headquarters in Edinburgh.
Stating that the use of cages causes “immense misery,” the signees all for their ban, in favor of higher-welfare alternatives. Specifically, the petition asks ministers to: “…prohibit the use of: cages for laying hens, rabbits, pullets, broiler breeders, layer breeders, quail; farrowing crates for sows, and individual calf pens, where not already prohibited.”
To demonstrate the cruelty of cages, the petition was printed in full. The resulting reams of paper were used to fill two metal cages used to farm rabbits. Both were gift-wrapped and delivered to government buildings.
“Almost 400,000 people added their names to our petition calling for action on cages. This huge public backing shows British citizens care deeply about the plight of farmed animals and want to see them free from suffering behind bars, because a life in a cage is no life at all,” Sarah Moyes, Compassion in World Farming’s senior campaigns manager, told Plant Based News.
“The public have spoken, now it’s time for Defra and the Scottish Government to follow through on their pledges and take the next step to End the Cage Age by publishing their long-awaited consultations.”