The European Parliament is urging the European Commission to adopt measures that would make life better for more than 340 million rabbits raised for food every year in Europe.
The parliament voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to recommend outlawing battery cages for rabbits — tiny enclosures with wire-mesh floors no bigger than ordinary letter-size pieces of paper.
Animal welfare groups say rabbits are extremely sensitive animals who suffer terribly in such small spaces, with such problems as open, infected wounds, respiratory disease and even cannibalism as the frustrated animals turn against one another.
Humane regulations already exist for pigs, cattle and chickens raised for food, but not rabbits.
European Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova said such standards for rabbits should not be an EU-wide concern but one for individual states.