Norfolk-based World Horse Welfare condemns horses’ suffering

World Horse Welfare works to stamp out abuse to horses.

World Horse Welfare works to stamp out abuse to horses. - Credit: Archant

Horse meat discovered in beef products is the product of suffering and the spread of disease, according to the Norfolk-based World Horse Welfare.

The charity is concerned about the casual attitude by some commentators towards eating horse meat while the abuse of horses that is rife in the trade goes largely unreported.

'Where there is horse meat, you can bet there is horse suffering and not just at the time of slaughter. This is no laughing matter. The whole European trade is mired in inadequate laws, needless suffering and the elephant in the room is the spread of infectious equine disease,' says World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers.

The charity does not oppose humane slaughter or the eating of humanely produced horse meat, which is a personal choice, but it is campaigning to stop the needless long distance transportation of 65,000 horses per year across Europe to slaughter.

As part of their evidence-backed campaign the charity undertakes regular field investigations documenting the abuses of the horse slaughter trade.

The spread of infectious equine disease is a primary concern.

Scientific evidence shows horses' immune systems become compromised on long journeys. Inadequate space in the compartments of slaughter lorries also causes grave injuries to horses in transport.

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'We see appalling rubbing and cutting injuries arise from this trade because horses can be crammed into inadequate space in poorly-designed vehicles,' said Owers.

World Horse Welfare is calling for a short, maximum journey limit of 9-12 hours to prevent these horses from having to travel for days on end to the slaughterhouse.

'Make no mistake – the long-distance transportation of horses for slaughter is the biggest abuse of horses in Europe, spreads disease and it needs to be stopped,' added Owers.