The dramatic life of quails bred in cages

for the production of meat and eggs

Watch the investigation

The investigation carried out by Essere Animali inside various intensive farms in Italy documents a very concerning picture of the condition of quails locked in cages for the production of eggs and meat.

We share this investigation together with the End the Cage Age coalition to call on the Italian government to take a clear position against the use of cages in animal farming, to support the commitment made by the European Commission, and to promote the urgent adoption of legislation at the national level that prohibits their use.

Watch the investigation

These are not small family farms; quail farms are intensive systems where animals are locked up in extreme conditions. It is shameful that such farming methods are still allowed in our country.
Francesco Ceccarelli Head of investigations at Essere Animali


High stocking density and aggression

Inside each cage, about 50 quails are piled up. For each animal, a space of only 10 cm x 10 cm is available. Under such conditions, the animals cannot move freely or meet their behavioral needs, such as running, flying, exploring, and scratching at the ground. Quails show their discomfort by pecking or plucking each other’s feathers. Furthermore, stress and frustration deriving from these farming conditions weaken their immune systems and increase the likelihood  that they contract diseases.

Small and bare cages

The animals are raised in bare cages with no environmental enrichment, e.g. a substrate where they can scratch about and peck, or where they can take sand baths. This deprivation of stimuli, combined with high stocking density, can cause stress and frustration and an increase in episodes of aggression. Wire mesh flooring can cause malformations and injuries to the legs and can also be a deadly trap for the chicks, who risk getting their feet stuck in the net.

Flying is impossible

Quails make small flights as an escape strategy, which is why every time they get scared — for example when staff enter the farm — they try to fly up, but end up banging their body and head against the upper floor of the cage, which is 20 cm in height, and risk of being seriously injured.

The quails

Quails are small birds who in the wild live on the ground in grassy fields. They forage, nest and find shelter in the tall grass. Flight is important for them to escape from potential predators.

The campaign

Over 300 million farmed animals suffer in cages across Europe. Along with other organisations for the protection of animals we seek to ban cages completely. Thanks to the End the Cage Age European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which gained 1,4 validated signatures, the European Commission has agreed to phase out the use of cages for farmed animals across Europe.

But the battle is not over: the new legislative proposal has to be adopted by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Therefore, it is crucial that Italy unreservedly supports this transition.

The Italian government hasn’t taken a clear stand against the use of cages in animal farming: with the End The Cage Age coalition we call on the Italian government to support this legislative proposal in all appropriate fora.

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