EU-Kommission: end the cages of shame

The short film “Motherhood” by the Dutchwoman Eline Helena Schelleken shows how most of the sows in the EU have to spend their motherhood.
In the crate in the service center and then in the so-called “piglet protection cage” in the farrowing area.

Imprisoned, immobile and extradited.
Pigs are sentient, intelligent beings.
The meat industry exploits them efficiently as production machines. You can read the seven most important facts below.

At the beginning, the film shows what loving, feeling and tender animals pigs are. But after a few minutes it becomes clear how cruel it is to be locked in a cage for weeks.

Cage farming is a practice that is in stark contrast to the trend towards more sustainable agriculture, as outlined in the “Green Deal”.
We, as part of the” End the Cage Age” initiative, call on EU Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to support the EU-wide ban on cage farming.

1. Number of sows
There are around 11 million sows in the EU. The majority of them spend almost half of the year in a cage where they cannot even turn around.
Only fewer than 2 million sows live in alternative systems without a cage.

2. Days in the cage
Most sows are caged at the beginning of their gestation for around five weeks. About a week before the birth of their piglets, they are restrained again and remain in the so-called piglet protection cage for another five weeks.
Because a “production cycle” takes about 21 weeks, the sow spends a total of up to half of the year fixed in a cage.

3. Natural behavior
Locked up in crates and “piglet protection cages”, they are more or less tied up.
They can no longer exercise even basic behavior. During the labor process and the weeks of lactation, the sow cannot even walk a few steps or turn and flip over.
It is degraded from a feeling, intelligent living being to a mere unit of production.

4. Nest building
Sows have a very strong nest-building instinct before they are born. That means they look for suitable material, dig, dig a hole and build a nest.
The “piglet protection cage” prevents all of that. This leads to frustration, stress, restlessness and can result in stereotypical behaviors such as bar biting.

5. Birth
In conventional farms, sows give birth to piglets just over twice a year and spend four to five weeks in the “piglet protection cage” before and after each birth.
Long lying on the hard floor, often bare concrete, carries the risk of wounds and injuries.
The prevention of natural behaviors can lead to delayed or prolonged births, a higher number of stillborn piglets per litter and reduced suckling success.

6. Suckling
The “piglet protection cage” prevents the sow from looking after her piglets. In this cage it is only possible for them to lie down to suckle their young.
After the piglets are taken away from her, the sow is inseminated again in the crate and the cycle starts all over again.

7. Contact with the piglets
“Piglet protection cages” prevent the sow from fulfilling her strong, natural need for contact with her piglets or moving away from them in order to rest. All she can do is stand up or lie down to suckle her piglets from the cage.

And I mean…The vast majority of sows used for breeding in the European Union spend half of their lives in cages.
The only way to get in touch with the piglets is to let them suckle through the perches.

A reality that the documentary film Motherhood by the Dutch filmmaker Eline Helena Schellekens grandiose reveals how 11 million sows live their motherhood in Europe.

The start of this film comes at a crucial time for the European Citizens’ Initiative called “End the Cage Age”, which received the overwhelming support of the MEPs at the European Parliament public hearing on April 15th.
The European citizens’ initiative “End the Cage Age” was launched on September 11, 2018 and closed exactly one year later.
With 1.4 million verified signatures from citizens across the EU, it was the first successful ICE in the field of animal welfare.
After the overwhelming support received in Parliament on April 15th, the European Commission must now speak out.

When it comes to the meat industry and its conservation, the EU Commission retains the right to decide when it wants.
Mostly not at all, as was the case with the 8hours campaign against animal transport.

At that time, the vast majority of EU parliamentarians were also on our side. And on the side of the animals.
The animals are still carted half dead or even dead for days, weeks, months all over the world.

For the misery, caged slavery, the illegal exploitation of farm animals is to blame the European Commission, a gang of well-paid agricultural lobbyists.

My best regards to all, Venus

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