Irish MEPs in the European Parliament are among legislators to overwhelming vote for the introduction of legislation to ban caged farming.
In response to the 'End the Cage Age' European Citizens’ Initiative, MEPs have asked the European Commission to come up with legislative proposals to phase out caged farming by 2027, if possible.
The proposal was adopted with 558 votes in favour to 37 against, with 85 abstentions.
All 13 Irish MEPs - Barry Andrews, Billy Kelleher, Ciaran Cuffe, Grace O’Sullivan, Frances Fitzgerald, Colm Markey, Maria Walsh, Deirdre Clune, Sean Kelly ,Chris MacManus, Clare Daly, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Mick Wallace - voted in favour.
The proposals include provisions that a ban would only come into force after an appropriate transition period for farmers and a solid scientific impact assessment.
A ban would have consequences for both the pig and poultry sectors, and MEPs want a species-by-species approach to be used which takes into account the needs of different animals.
They want farmers to be offered financial supports to avoid a loss of competitiveness and prevent production moving to places with lower animal welfare standards.
The resolution passed by MEPs also calls for a trade policy that ensures a level playing field.
MEPs want all animal products imported into the EU to be produced in full compliance with EU legislation, including the use of cage-free farming systems.
They insist existing trade deals should be re-evaluated to ensure that the same animal welfare and product quality standards are met.