Victims of the betting industry: “Wastage” – Horsemeat for EU and Swiss importers

Tierschutzbund Zürich (TSB) and Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) have been reporting about the torturous production of horsemeat overseas since 2012. New investigations in Australia show the poor conditions during transport, at auctions, assembly centres and the EU-approved abattoir Meramist. Horses are transported over long distances in cattle trucks which are completely inappropriate for them. They are brutally mistreated with sticks and electric shocks. Feed, weather protection and veterinary care are insufficient or completely lacking. A large number of horses are not stunned correctly and are bolted up to five times. Some horses still show signs of consciousness when being hoisted and bled out. The investigations, carried out over a period of more than two years, clearly show that these are not individual cases – this is systematic torture. The European importers, among them the Belgian company Multimeat and the Swiss import association VPI, have long claimed to have animal welfare issues in overseas slaughterhouses under control with manuals and audits. How much more evidence do they need?

Furthermore, Australian horsemeat poses a health risk for European consumers. More than 50 % of the slaughtered horses are former racehorses, called “wastage” in Australia, and the risk of drug residues in their meat is particularly high. Racehorses that are no longer profitable are discarded at Meramist, about 4000-5000 each year, and slaughtered for export only. Some of them have raced just a few weeks before slaughter.

Tierschutzbund Zürich, Animal Welfare Foundation, Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, Dier&Recht, GAIA, Italian Horse Protection, Welfarm and Eurogroup for Animals call on the European importers and the EU Commission to stop horsemeat imports from Australia, since compliance with the applicable EU requirements regarding animal welfare and traceability cannot be guaranteed.

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