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Parliamentary question - E-002939/2019Parliamentary question

Eggs from caged hens

Question for written answer E-002939-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Roman Haider (ID) , Georg Mayer (ID)

The vast majority of global egg production is made up of eggs from caged hens. These hens often have as little as 550 square centimetres of space, less than the surface area of a sheet of A4 paper. This farming method has been banned in the EU since 2012. However, no such ban applies in the case of eggs imported from non-EU countries. The result is that most of the 1.8 million eggs imported into Austria come from caged hens. They are not sold directly to consumers, but are used in processed form as liquid egg or egg powder in food production.

So-called enriched cages are still permitted in the EU. These cages are only 600 square centimetres in size, meaning that the hens kept in them are deprived of the most basic necessities of life. To give a few examples, 96% of hens in Lithuania, 88% of hens in Spain and 87% of those in Poland live in such conditions[1].

1.The European Citizens’ Initiative ‘End the Cage Age’, which ran until 11 September 2019, gathered 1.5 million signatures. Has the Commission already addressed this citizens’ initiative?

2. What is the Commission’s assessment of so-called enriched cages with regard to the quality of life of the hens forced to live in them?

3. Many consumers are unaware that finished products such as biscuits contain eggs from caged hens. Does the Commission plan on taking action to prevent eggs from caged hens reaching consumers by the back door?

Last updated: 8 October 2019
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