This summer, Bill campaigned to show his support for a future of cage-free farming in Britain at Compassion in World Farming’s ‘End the Cage Age’ campaign.
According to Compassion in World Farming’s 2018 report, over 300 million farm animals are imprisoned in cages each year on farms under EU legislation. Around 16 million farm animals are still confined in cages in Britain every year, causing distress and suffering, and increasing the likelihood of spreading disease.
Bill commented: “Cage farming is a central feature of farming systems in Europe. It particularly concerns pigs in sow stalls and farrowing crates, rabbits and quail in barren cages, and ducks and geese that are caged and force-fed to produce foie gras.
Cages isolate animals and pack them into confined spaces that prevent them from exercising and performing natural behaviours. Studies have shown that extreme confinement has severe health and welfare implications for the animals.
The UK was one of the first countries to completely ban sow stalls in 1999, and it was not until 2013 that a partial ban was introduced across the rest of the EU. We must continue to set an example of high priority animal welfare legislation to EU member states as we leave the EU this Autumn.
As a longstanding campaigner for animal welfare, I am delighted to support the ‘End the Cage Age’ campaign to reach the highest possible standards of farm animal welfare and ensure that the UK continues to grow as a global leader in ethical, sustainable farming.
Every animal in our food production chain should be respected as the sentient being that it is. It is vital that we adjust our farming culture accordingly and support new legislation to bring farming into the 21st century.”
105,785 people have already signed the petition to ban cages for all farmed animals. It will be debated in Parliament on 9 September 2019.