The transition towards cage-free farming in France

The European Commission recently announced aiming at banning cages for farmed animals. This IEEP report commissioned by CIWF assesses the feasibility of transitioning towards cage-free farming in France, considering the costs which are associated with the transition and the opportunity for the French market.

In the summer of 2021, the European Commission announced an upcoming proposal on a ban on cages for farmed animals for 2023, to be implemented in 2027. It echoes the increasing demand and consideration regarding animal welfare, and especially the need to move away from intensive livestock farming. This announcement, which will require a systemic change, triggered a certain level of questions and some concerns around the financing of the transition.

This IEEP report commissioned by CIWF France aims at assessing the feasibility of transitioning towards cage-free farming in France, considering the costs and barriers associated with the transition and the opportunity for the French market.

The most relevant barriers identified are: 

  • the current use of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and the implementation of the EU promotion of farm products programme by France;
  • the lack of a regulatory framework and transparency around the breeding conditions of animals;
  • high short-term investment costs.

However, there are also several opportunities linked with upcoming changes in EU law and different implementation choices at national level, such as:

  • the future CAP and in particular the CAP strategic plans at national level;
  • existing environmental regulation as the European regulation setting level of ammonia emissions
  • financial instruments and public market instruments such as the French Recovery Package offer funding opportunities to fund that transition;
  • labelling instrument raising consumer awareness about breeding conditions.

Overall, our report shows that, if there are several barriers to the transition towards cage-free farming in France, the many opportunities we identified can counterbalance them. It is often very much linked to the strategic implementation choices of existing tools.

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