Making rabbit farming less cruel
Rabbits are the second most farmed livestock species in the European Union, farmed mainly for their meat and for their fur. Despite this, there is not yet any specific EU legislation on minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits. Most farmed rabbits will be kept caged in barren environments, and in some instances, will be caged together with little to no space to move. These cages inhibit the rabbits’ ability to use their basic motor skills, leaves them unable to sit up with their ears erect, and may contribute to giving the rabbit bone conditions.
This lack of regulation seems peculiar given that there are EU regulations are in place to provide minimum standards for the protection of pigs, calves, laying hens, broiler chickens, and the general Council Directive for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes.
It is clear that many of my constituents also share my concerns about the living conditions of farmed rabbits. At the last count, I have received over 10,000 emails from concerned constituents relating to the conditions suffered by farmed rabbits.
I have therefore supported a so-called ‘own initiative’ report from the Agricultural Committee on minimum standards for the protection of farmed rabbits, and hope that my fellow MEPs will agree with me next week when this is voted on in the plenary of the Parliament.