The European Parliament on Thursday debated putting an end to battery farming by 2027 ahead of a vote aimed at convincing the bloc to phase out the practice.
The push to stop farmers from rearing animals in cages comes after almost 1.4 million people from across the 27-nation bloc put their names to an initiative from Brussels called End the Cage Age.
"It is necessary to make changes or reach a ban on cage breeding," German MEP Norbert Lins, the parliament's pointman on the issue, said ahead of the vote later Thursday.
"2027 could represent an acceptable date for the complete disappearance of cage farming," he said.
A vote in favour of the move by lawmakers would kick off a legislative process including debates between the bloc's executive and member states that could take months.
"We must act on citizens' calls for action in the area of animal welfare," EU health and food safety commissioner Stella Kyriakides wrote on Twitter.
"I look forward to working with all stakeholders to turn our citizens' expectations into reality."
The text put forward to lawmakers to vote on said that rabbits are the most common animals being reared in cages.
About a half of the egg-laying chickens in the EU are raised in cages and the majority of female pigs spend at least part of their lives in a cage.
Cage farming is already banned in farming accredited as organic in the EU.
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