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2 Irish MEPs vote against proposal to ban cruel rabbit battery cages
15 March 2017

Two Irish MEPs have shamefully voted against a resolution seeking to end the cruel caging of millions of rabbits across Europe - a practice shown to cause "extreme suffering". The "Minimum standards for the protection of farm rabbits" resolution, presented by German MEP Stefan Eck, was passed with majority support in the European Parliament on Tuesday but among those who chose to reject it were two Irish MEPs - Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly of the Christian Democrats.

In voting against the resolution, Fine Gael representatives Clune and Kelly have clearly disregarded the abhorrent cruelty of the rabbit meat industry.

According to Animal Equality, one of the groups campaigning for a Europe-wide ban on battery cages for rabbits: "Every year, 320 million rabbits are slaughtered for meat in the European Union - and there are currently no legal provisions to protect them. This means that 99% of farmed rabbits are kept in small wire cages with little more space than an A4 sheet of paper."

Animal Equality reported that it has "repeatedly documented the terrible suffering of rabbits in battery cages in Spain and Italy – where 60% of all rabbit farms in the EU are located"

"In Spain alone we have investigated 70 rabbit farms and 4 slaughterhouses and in each and every single one we have found evidence of extreme cruelty," the groups says. "Our investigators have seen rabbits with open wounds, painful eye infections and even rabbits whose ears have been bitten off by their stressed companions. Due to the crowded and unnatural conditions, up to 30% of farmed rabbits die or are killed even before arriving at the slaughterhouse." Video footage exposing some of the cruelty can be viewed at (Warning: Graphic content).

Thank you to the Irish MEPs who voted in favour of the resolution. They were Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, Nessa Childers, Luke Ming Flanagan and Marian Harkin. A special thanks to Brian Hayes (a Fine Gael/Christian Democrats colleague of Clune and Kelly) who rebelled and also voted in favour. The Irish MEPs who did not vote were Brian Crowley, Mairead Mcguinness and Liadh Ní Riada.

Compared to 2 out of 11 Irish MEPs voting against the resolution, in the UK just 1 out of 73 voted against it (Independent MEP Janice Atkinson). The overall result of the vote was 410 in favour, 205 against and 59 abstentions.

Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly have a disgraceful record when it comes to issues of animal cruelty. In 2014, they refused to support a European Parliament Budget Amendment which sought to end massive subsidies to barbaric bullfighting, both choosing to abstain in the vote. A year later, they voted against a similar amendment despite being well aware of the appalling cruelty in bullfighting. As a TD in 2010, Deirdre Clune voted against the Bill which banned staghunting with packs of dogs.


Send a thank you message to the MEPs who supported the resolution,,,,,

Complain to MEPs Deirdre Clune and Sean Kelly about their shameful voting record on animal cruelty issues.

Deirdre Clune MEP
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Telephone: 0032 228 45292 OR 1890 989 533

Sean Kelly, MEP
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Tweet to @SeanKellyMEP
Telephone: 085 1255263 OR 061-468788

Fine Gael
51 Upper Mount Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 01 619 8444
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Voted in favour 410
Voted against 205
Abstentions 59

How Irish MEPs voted
Voted in favour 6 (Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, Nessa Childers, Luke Ming Flanagan, Marian Harkin, Brian Hayes)
Voted against 2 (Deirdre Clune, Seán Kelly)
Did not vote 3 (Brian Crowley, Mairead Mcguinness, Liadh Ní Riada)

Find out more about how MEPs voted at

Rabbits in battery cages (Photo: Animal Equality)

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