CWF puts rabbits in the headlights
Compassion in World Farming is calling for greater welfare protection of rabbits through the addition of a Good Rabbit Award at its annual Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.
Globally around 1.2 billion rabbits are slaughtered for meat each year, 99% of which are kept in cages. Europe accounts for 28% making them the second-most farmed animal in Europe (after broilers), and yet they are not protected by any species-specific EU legislation. The biggest producers are Italy (170 million slaughtered a year), Spain (59 million), France (39 million) and Germany (22 million). Barren cage housing is common, although alternatives are increasingly being implemented in response to consumer concern.
Dr. Tracey Jones, director of Food Business at Compassion in World Farming, said: “While barren battery cages for laying hens have been banned across the EU since 2012, barren cages are still the most common type of housing for rabbits. And yet they cause severe welfare issues due to insufficient space, social isolation or high stocking density, disease, injury, uncomfortable flooring and a lack of enrichment for behavioural expression. The routine use of antibiotics is also very high.”
The Good Rabbit Award joins the Good Egg Award, the Good Chicken Award, the Good Dairy Award and the Good Pig Award, all of which recognise companies committed to implementing substantial policy changes and practices that result in positive impacts for farm animals.
The Awards will be presented at the Milan Expo 2015 on 9 June 2015.