Djurens Rätt
09 December 2022

Big support from Europe for a cage ban in Sweden

A joint letter has on the 7th of December been sent to the minister of rural affairs, Peter Kullgren (KD), with the call for the Swedish government to ban cages in the egg industry in line with End the Cage Age, the citizens' initiative that reached huge success under 2021.

Djurens Rätt initiated the letter and got support from 15 other animal rights- and animal welfare organisations from all over Europe. The organisations were from, among others, Bulgaria, Germany, Finland, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The umbrella organisation Eurogroup for Animals, that are represented all over EU, also gave their support. 

– We are very grateful over this support from organisations all over Europe. Together we demand an end for the barren and cramped cages in Sweden. To keep animals in small cages, where they cannot stretch their wings, could never be in line with good animal protection, said Camilla Bergvall, president Djurens Rätt.

Hens that are kept in cages are declining in Sweden after great efforts made by Djurens Rätt. This has been made through conversations with corporations and consumer information to boycott cage eggs. But still some 300 000 hens are left in Swedish cages and it seems like the pace of phasing out cages have slowed down. The last cage eggs are tricky for consumers to boycott, because they are hidden in ready to eat-products and are used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. That is why a political initiative is needed to make the last cages disappear. 

Sweden falls behind in the protection of hens

Several other countries have already taken the decision to ban cages in the egg industry. Countries that have banned the cages are for example Luxemburg, Switzerland and Austria, while Germany, Slovakia and the Czech republic have, just like Denmark, introduced a phase out period. France has banned the construction of any new egg factories that involves cages.

– If Sweden wants to live up to the notion of having a world leading animal welfare legislation, our politicians need to act now to ban the last cages. We cannot say that we have the best animal protection if the EU will force us to improve our legislation, said Camilla Bergvall.

The letter to the minister of rural affairs includes two alternatives for the government, that Djurens Rätt believes have the largest possibility to be successful in a short amount of time. 

  • Making a clarification in the Animal Welfare Ordinance that hens need freedom of movement and that it is not allowed to keep them in cages from 2023.
  • Sending a request to the Board of Agriculture to update the regulations on poultry to clarify that cages aren’t allowed. 

Read the letter to the minister here

Anna Harenius

Anna Harenius