The unimaginable suffering of quails in Europe

General / 3 April 2019

The unimaginable suffering of quails in Europe 1

Quails in parts of Europe live in cramped cages that are smaller than the size of an average smartphone. That’s roughly about 3.66 x 3.66 inches (9.3 x 9.3 centimeters) of floor space with as many as 80 birds in one cage. Quails are the factory-farming industry’s tiniest victims, and a thorough investigation by Compassion in World Farming shows how they suffer in Greece and Italy. The welfare organisation said witnessing such tiny, fragile birds being subjected to inhumane conditions was devastating.

Around 143 million quails are farmed in the UK and elsewhere in Europe for their meat and eggs. They are forced to spend their entire lives cruelly imprisoned in cramped, filthy cages or crates. In the wild, quails are free. They nest, forage and sleep in meadows and grassy areas.

James West, Compassion in World Farming Senior Campaign Manager said quails were seen as a delicacy and luxury product.

“In fact the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Sold for a premium price in supermarkets and top restaurants in the UK, Portugal, Spain and Germany, the vast majority of quails are reared in horrendous conditions,” he said.

The European Union (EU) has banned the keeping of hens in barren battery cages but still permit quails to be kept in similar cages.

“The farming of quail in cages is cruel and must be phased out,” said West.

A coalition of organisations are uniting to push the EU and UK governments to end this inhumane suffering. Through the #EndTheCageAge European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), more than 140 groups have come together and mobilized more than 650,000 people across Europe. But this is apparently not enough. For the movement to be successful, they need to be supported by at least one million voting-age EU citizens from at least seven member states. This will secure them the right to a public hearing in the European Parliament and compel the European Commission to detail what action it will take in response.

PAL urges all its eligible supporters to call on the UK government to take an important first step in reducing the suffering of animals on farms by banning the use of cruel confinement systems in animal agriculture. If you live in the UK, please join this effort by signing this petition.

Andrea Matthee, a PAL campaigner said PAL said: “It’s heart-warming to see people and nations come together to fight for the common good by ending the intolerable abuse and cruelty against animals and wildlife.”