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Caged rabbits dying in squalor ‘abhorrent’ says Scottish MEP

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has backed a campaign by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) to ‘End the Cage Age’ by introducing strong EU legislation to oversee the conditions of European rabbit meat farms.

According to a study by CIWF, the animals are being kept in overcrowded bare wire cages for 24 hours a day, subsisting on highly medicated food laced with antibiotics and overbred for litters so large that up to six babies per litter are immediately killed.

Alyn said:

“This is absolutely abhorrent.

“I’m honorary Vice President of the Scottish SPCA but you don’t have to be an animal lover to be horrified by the findings of this report.

“Rabbits are one of the most caged farm animals and it’s time for the EU to implement formal legislation to regulate the conditions on these farms. 

“Animals being dragged by their ears is a direct contravention of the European Council’s Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing, and that’s before you even consider the utter squalor in which these rabbits are kept. The only time animals are let out of the cages is either when they’re being used for breeding purposes or when they’re being slaughtered.

“The bare wire causes sores on the footpads of the rabbits, leading to culling. By replacing the wire with a plastic platform, these lesions can be prevented.

“Simple changes can make a world of difference to the welfare of these animals, and that’s why I’m backing CIWF’s campaign to End the Cage Age.”

Dil Peeling, Director of Campaigns for CWIF, said:

“If you don’t ask where your rabbit meat has come from, there is a strong chance that it is imported. And if it is imported, as our investigations have shown, almost all of these rabbits are kept in horrifying conditions.

“Not only is the sheer number of animals kept in barren battery cages monstrous, but so is the individual suffering of each of these animals. In the UK, we see rabbits as pets. It’s hard to face the brutal truth that millions of rabbits in the EU are living in miserable conditions.”

You can find more information about caged farming and CIWF's campaign here.