Across the UK, millions of pigs in farrowing crates and egg-laying hens in ‘enriched’ cages spend their lives, or significant periods of their lives, confined in tiny cages. 

pig in farrowing crate

The Scottish Government has committed to consult this year on phasing out cages for laying hens and gamebirds. However, the consultation will not include farrowing crates for mother pigs, despite their 2021-2022 Programme for Government commitment to do so. 

We are campaigning the Scottish Government to also consult on a phase out to farrowing crates as soon as possible.

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What is the problem with cages? 


Pig lying in farrowing crate

A pregnant pig will be placed in a farrowing crate a week before her due date and she will remain there with her piglets until they are weaned at around 4 weeks. A pregnant sow will suffer tremendously in these confining crates. She is unable to turn around or move beyond lying down and standing up, sometimes with difficulty, as the crate is barely bigger than her own body. She cannot build a nest for her piglets, which she is strongly motivated to do, nor interact with or care for her piglets (beyond allowing them to suckle through bars). 

Egg-laying hens

While the conventional battery cage system is banned in Europe, around 2 million hens in Scotland are kept in enriched cages for their entire lives. These cages confine each hen to an area little more than the size of an A4 piece of paper. Hens kept in these cages have their natural behaviours extremely limited as they cannot run, fly or even experience fresh air and sunlight.

Farm animal assurance schemes often have higher standards than the basic legislation and enriched cages are either banned or phased out under the vast majority of these.

End the Cage Age

Alongside our Ban Farmed Animal Cages campaign, we supported Compassion in World Farming's Europeans Citizen Initiative (ECI) calling on the European Commission to ban cages for all farmed animals and end the cage age in the European Union.

While the European Commission, as a result, originally committed to phase out the use of cages for farmed animals, they have since backtracked and missed the deadline to submit their cage ban proposal.

Our progress to Ban Farmed Animal Cages

OneKind has long campaigned for better conditions for Scotland’s caged farmed animals.

Our recent highlights include:

  • The Scottish Government's proposal to consult on phasing out cages for egg-laying hens.
  • Releasing our report “Emotional beings- Why farmed animal welfare matters in a Good Food Nation” to raise awareness of famed animals as sentient, individual beings as opposed to “units of production”.
  • Supporting Compassion in World Farming’s #EndCageAge campaign and the European Citizens’ Initiative to #EndTheCageAge.
  • Protesting in Edinburgh city centre in dog cages to highlight the suffering of farmed animals confined to cages.

All of our campaign work relies on the generosity of compassionate supporters, determined to end cruelty to animals. You can help OneKind continue working to improve the lives of all animals by making a donation today.

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