Smith Questions Commission Over Horse Transportation

04 April 2011

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has written to the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, asking what steps the Commission has taken to improve the long distance travelling conditions of live horses to slaughter since the of the European Parliament’s Written Declaration 54/2009 early last year.

Smith had previously worked very closely with World Horse Welfare during the passage of this Written Declaration and was praised for being one of the first MEPs to sign up. However, since this time, a vast amount of evidence has been published, including the Scientific Opinion of the European Food Safety Authority, signalling the need to put in place a short, finite journey limit for horses travelling to slaughter and to conduct a review of space allowances.

Smith said:

“World Horse Welfare has a great track record on this matter and I am glad that they have sought my help again, even if it is regrettable that it is needed at all. I had stated previously that I would continue to put pressure on the Commission on this issue, and I am.
“I have asked for assurance that the Commission is working in order to close loopholes in the current Regulation, to improve horse welfare and lower the risk of disease outbreaks.
“There is simply no logic in transporting horses thousands of miles for slaughter when it is well-known that they are prone to serious risks when doing so. Surely it would make more sense to transport chilled horse meat to those countries that wish to consume it than to expose so many horses to this needless trauma? One commonly used European route passes 180 licensed slaughterhouses, there is certainly no need for this and we must seek commitments from the Commission that it will end.”