Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
16 June 2023
I am writing to express concern on behalf of many of my constituents, about the lack of Government action to end the practice of keeping farmed animals in cages. Despite animal sentience being recognised in law, there are still 16 million animals across the UK confined to cages and experiencing immense suffering as a result. Cages prevent animals from performing basic instinctual behaviours and heavily restrict their movement, causing extreme stress and frustration. As a nation of proud animal lovers, how can we allow the continuation of such a cruel and outdated practice?
In the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affair (DEFRA) May 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare (APAW), your Government committed to publishing a consultation on the keeping of farm animals in cages. Two years later, this has yet to happen. I am therefore urging you to fulfil, without any further delay, DEFRA’s commitment in the APAW to ‘transition out of cages’ for laying hens and to ‘explore potential reforms around the use of farrowing crates’ to protect other animals.
Ending the use of cages in farming will not only improve animal welfare, it will also help preserve trade relations with the EU, our largest export market. The European Commission’s plans to ban the caging of all farmed animals by 2027, as well as the import of food from caged systems, will create trade barriers for the UK if our national laws are not compatible. This would be incredibly damaging for an already struggling British farming sector. Abolishing caged farming is the best way to future proof our farming sector and ensure the continuation of trade with the EU.
I trust you will act swiftly to uphold the commitments DEFRA has already made and end the archaic system of caging farmed animals.