MEP To Spend The Day At Belwade Farm, Aberdeenshire

27 October 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith will tomorrow (Wednesday) saddle up for the day at Belwade stables, Aberdeenshire, as part of his annual work experience.

Smith will join Eileen Gillen and her colleagues for a day of horse grooming and getting his hands dirty. His visit will be more than just a hard day's graft though. The main purpose behind Smith's visit is to raise awareness of the callous practice of long distance transportation of horses across Europe for slaughter which is due for review.

Earlier in 2008, Mr Smith wrote to the European Health Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, to ask the Commission to investigate claims that the EU's rules on the protection andpromotion of animal welfare during transport are being ignored and openly flouted in many instances. Smith, an active campaigner for better horse welfare, last week signed Written Declaration (54/2009) to show his support for a review of the current Transport Regulation, specifically regarding horses.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Smith said:

"I am very much looking forward to my visit to Belwade Farm."

"I firmly believe that you can only get a genuine taster on the issues and difficulties facing trades if you get out there and experience it first hand."

"I'm delighted to be working alongside "World Horse Welfare" and I want to use this visit to highlight the good work they do and ensure that as their mouthpiece in Europe, I help them every way I can. The current legislation, EU Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 has serious deficiencies and some Member States do not rigorously enforce it, resulting in exhaustion, injury, pain and stress amongst horses. These journeys are not only inhumane but are totally unnecessary. I am determined to keep the pressure on the Commission and end this pointless suffering once and for all"

Roly Owers, World Horse Welfare Chief Executive said:

"It's great that Alyn has chosen to see some of the welfare problems that we encounter in the UK first hand at Belwade Farm as part of his work experience.

"Of course the biggest single abuse of horses in Europe is the long distance transportation of horses to slaughter. Many MEPs, including Alyn, support us in our efforts to bring this practice to an end."