Photo – Act 4 Equines.
On 26 October 2022, Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski visited the animal rescue centre Animaux en Péril to discuss the issues surrounding horse meat imported and consumed in the EU.
In 2020, Eurogroup for Animals published the report “From Stable to Fork” which highlights the traceability problems of the horse meat trade and reveals that the challenges of the 2013 horse meat scandal have not yet been addressed. In 2022, an updated version of this report provides a better overview of the current state of horse meat imports and trade in the EU, pointing out the current regulatory gaps.
Numerous investigations and audits conducted by the EU, local authorities and NGOs have highlighted the poor conditions under which horses destined for the EU market are raised, bred, transported and slaughtered in Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and Australia. They also showed the lack of traceability, with no documentation to prove the origin or health status of the horses. This is of particular concern as the horse meat trade involves very long supply chains with animals not even intended for meat production, such as mares used for eCG hormone production.
Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski accepted Eurogroup for Animals’ invitation to discuss these issues at the animal rescue centre Animaux en Péril. As representatives of Eurogroup for Animals and Animaux en Péril presented the animal welfare and traceability issues raised by the horse meat trade, Commissioner Wojciechowski acknowledged the terrible conditions faced by these animals and the need to act to ensure their protection.
Horses have accompanied humanity for centuries, putting their faith, health and welfare into our hands regardless of their roles. They served in the field, at war, on an estate, in sports, in a village, and in a city, they served poor and rich, always with the same dedication, silence and docility. It is high time to ensure their best protection.”
Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski
We call on the EU to ensure that animal welfare requirements applicable in the EU also apply to imported horse meat. It is also essential that EU consumers can make informed decisions through the introduction of country of origin labelling requirements for horse meat. Almost 10 years after the horse meat scandal, it is high time that the EU finally acts to ensure the protection of horses and consumers.