Thursday, September 10, 2009

Welfare of European horses transported for slaughter.

A recent study highlights concerns about the welfare of horses transported long distances by road for slaughter.

The study was carried out between March and September 2008. Groups of horses were inspected in Romania before being transported to Italy. Other horses were inspected on arrival at slaughterhouses in Italy. A few horses were observed both before and after transportation.

Many of the horses observed in the study, either at the start of their journey, or on arrival at the slaughterhouse, showed evidence of poor health and welfare.

The researchers observed 1519 horses being loaded onto lorries in Romania. They judged that fourteen percent of the animals were not fit to travel in accordance with EU Council Regulation 1/2005 on the Welfare of Animals during Transport. Both recent and long-term injuries were seen. Lameness was common.

1271 horses were observed on arrival in Italy. Of those, the observers considered that 37% were not fit to travel. Many horses showed clear signs of disease, including coughing and nasal discharge, which would have rendered them unsuitable to enter into the human food chain. One in 3 had recent injuries that were likely to have arisen on the journey.

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