OneKind is calling for a ban on the use of cruel cages for Scotland's farmed animals.
Farmed animals need to walk, run, fly and peck, stretch, flap their wings and roll in the dust. Yet millions of them spend their lives confined in tiny cages, unable to carry out these natural behaviours. It’s a major welfare issue.
OneKind is calling on the Scottish Government to ban cruel cages, such as enriched cages for egg-laying hens and farrowing crates for sows.
What is the problem with cages?
Forced into cramped cages and crates, these farmed animals are unable to live a life worth living.
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.
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 3-4 weeks. The aim of the crate is to reduce piglet mortality by preventing the sow from accidentally crushing them. The cages, therefore, severely restrict movement and pigs placed in them cannot walk, turn around or move if their piglets bite them while feeding.
The lack of, or inadequate provision of, materials such as straw or peat also stops sows from fulfilling their strong nest-building instincts and this causes stress.
The Soil Association, Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA) and RSPCA schemes do not allow the use of farrowing crates but Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) still does.
What is OneKind doing?
OneKind has long campaigned for better conditions for Scotland’s caged farmed animals. Our recent highlights include:
- Our 2018 campaign to bring in CCTV in Scottish abattoirs resulted in a commitment by the Scottish Government to introduce compulsory video recording in all relevant areas of slaughterhouses in Scotland.
- We supported Compassion in World Farming’s #EndCageAge campaign and the European Citizens’ Initiative to #EndTheCageAge.
- In September 2019, our team and supporters took to Edinburgh city centre in dog cages to highlight the suffering of farmed animals confined to cages.
- In April 2021, we released a 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”.
How can I help Scotland’s farm animals?