Cartabianca’s TV cameras show the reality of a rabbit farm

© Essere Animali


Cartabianca’s TV cameras show the reality of a rabbit farm

Francesco Ceccarelli
Head of investigations

Last night a journalistic service by Chiara Carbone, a journalist from the Rai 3 #cartabianca programme, was broadcast showing the conditions in which rabbits exploited for meat production live in Italy.

Our team accompanied #cartabianca to a rabbit factory farm in Veneto, in the province of Treviso. The farm represents the standard of rabbit meat production: in Europe, 85% of these animals are bred in cages. What strikes you when you enter is the silence: although the structure is absolutely full of animals, you cannot hear any noise. What you perceive is a silent suffering.

What the #cartabianca programme shows

The animals are imprisoned in very small cages that they share with another animal or even two others. The width of the cages is 26 cm, the length 40 cm and the height 28 cm. The available space is the size of a sheet of A4 paper, whereas in natural conditions rabbits need at least 50 square metres of living space. Unfortunately, as I explain to the journalist Chiara Carbone, there is no rule that regulates the size of the cages.

According to EFSA, the biggest problem on rabbit farms is the restriction of movement. The rabbits remain in the cages for 70 to 80 days, after which they end up at the slaughterhouse. For the specimens used for reproduction, on the other hand, the times are lengthened: one year for females, two years for males.

The images are very strong: the cages contain dead or dying animals; others are injured, have skin problems, present stereotyped movements and one in particular has an infection to the nervous system caused by pathogens that makes him twist his neck. The highly stressful conditions lead the animals to attack each other, the wire mesh causes injuries to the legs and all these things lead to a lowering of the immune defences, weakness of the bones, skeletal deformations, dermatitis and respiratory problems.

We move to the cold room: this is where the carcasses of the dead animals are brought. Despite the widespread use of drugs, there is a very high percentage of mortality in these places, ranging from 10% to 30%.

Although there has been a decrease in the consumption of rabbit meat, last year more than 15 million rabbits were still slaughtered in Italy alone, mostly from farms such as the one shown in the images broadcast by the programme.

It’s time to end the cage age

With the End the Cage Age coalition, we have asked the Italian government to take a clear stand against the use of cages in livestock farms and commit to:

●     Supporting the call for a ban on cages in the EU in all appropriate fora, starting with that of the Council of the European Union, where Italy has an important voice.

● Adopting all appropriate instruments, both legislative and economic, to facilitate and implement the transition to cage-free farming systems as soon as possible, also in Italy.

Cages force the animals to endure physical and mental suffering, help us to prohibit them!

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