THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has voted in favour of banning caged hens across the bloc.

The vote is non-binding, but the EU’s agriculture commissioner has expressed support for a ban in the past.

See also: 25% of UK poultry supply chain signed up to Better Chicken Commitment

More than 1.4 million people signed a European Citizens Initiative petition calling for an end to caged animal production by 2027, which triggered the vote.

That was coordinated by Compassion In World Farming, which is campaigning to ‘End the Cage Age’ for hens, pigs, rabbits and quail across Europe.

558 MEPs voted in favour of a ban, with 37 against and 85 abstentions.

Import standards

Germany has unilaterally said it would unilaterally ban colony hen systems by 2025, as has the Czech Republic (by 2027). Luxembourg and Austria have also banned caged hens.

The majority of colony hen production is in Eastern, Central and Southern member states.

The UK government is considering a ban on colony systems as part of new legislation.

Speaking at the plenary hearing, Green MEP Francisco Guerreiro supported a ban but said imports should also meet EU production standards.

“[Caged] farming must be a thing from the past

“And to protect our farmers, it is also of utmost importance that imported products respect the same rules followed in the EU.”