Anti-caging petition reaches 1.4 million signatures

Brussels (AFP) –

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A petition against the caging of farm animals in Europe has reached almost 1.4 million signatures, requiring the European Commission to look into the issue, the EU said Friday.

"End the Cage Age" campaigners, who include 1990s TV star Pamela Anderson, complain that hundreds of millions of farm animals in the EU are kept in cages for most of their lives.

They have called on the European Commission to ban the caging of hens as well as implement a ban on separating sows from their piglets throughout the EU.

The petition is a European Citizens' Initiative, a mechanism enabling residents to force the Commission to look into a matter once a million signatures have been collected from at least seven member states.

The Commission can then propose legislation, take other measures or decide not to act at all.

A hearing in the European Parliament must be organised within three months.

According to the Commission, most of the End the Cage Age signatures -- almost half a million -- came from Germany.

With 150,000 signatures, a large number from the Netherlands also took part.