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Parliamentary questions
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21 November 2014
Question for written answer E-009611-14
to the Commission
Rule 130
Giulia Moi (EFDD)

 Subject:  Protection for rabbits in European breeding farms
 Answer in writing 

Figures from Faostat reveal that upwards of 330 million rabbits are bred for their meat each year within the European Union, with more than 99% of them never leaving the confines of their cage.

Breeding farms in Italy alone produce more than 50% of all rabbits bred within the Union, with yearly figures of approximately 175 million.

There is currently no species‐specific legislation governing the welfare of rabbits — unlike that for laying hens, calves and pigs — despite the fact that it is the second most bred animal in the European Union.

The rabbits are often reared in battery cages with no environmental enrichment, and many are only kept alive through extensive use of antibiotics.

1. What steps has the Commission taken to introduce species‐specific legislation for protecting the welfare of rabbits?

2. Have European funds been used to support rabbit farming and, if so, does the Commission intend to ensure that future funding is not spent on breeding rabbits in battery or enriched cages, but instead solely on breeding systems paying greater attention to their welfare?

3. Does the Commission intend to work with the Italian Government regarding the enormous quantities of antibiotics required to treat the 175 million rabbits bred yearly in the country, as well as on measures to reduce their use?

Original language of question: IT 
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