Yesterday, World Horse Welfare submitted a dossier to the European Commission requesting laws be tightened up that govern the live transport of horses going to slaughter.
The latest research took on more of a scientific approach with vets studying the health and welfare of these horses as they travel sometimes thousands of miles to slaughterhouses throughout Europe.
David Marlin, who spearheaded the project and is a long time supporter of ERF, told Horse & Hound: “It’s clear from looking at the data that transporting a horse for slaughter is just about the worst thing you can do. Unlike transporting cattle and sheep commercially, horses have a greater risk of injury and don’t come off so well psychologically.”
The EC had asked for hard evidence and this was supplied in the following points:
- 26% of horses arriving in Italy for slaughter were obese
- One in three horses arriving in Italy had cuts that resulted directly from transport
- 471 of 1271 horses arriving in Italy were considered unfit for transport — double the number leaving Romania
- 90% of horses arriving in Italy considered unfit for transport had more than one clinical sign of disease
- Only one third of horses transported to Italy for slaughter had access to water prior to their journey
- Horses lose on average 0.36% of their body weight per hour, so it would take 14 hours of transport for a horse to become severely dehydrated.
- Vets saw a high level of resistance in horses to loading (63%) and unloading (66%)
Among some of the recommendations for changes are that horses are reclassified from farm animals, a new classification is introduced for unbroken equines and maximum journey times of 12 hours to be imposed. The full story can be read here on Horse & Hound.
As a Member Society of WSPA, ERF is kept up to date with the latest news and reports on the issues of live transportation of equines to slaughter. Today we received from them this shocking documentary by a Finnish TV company of horses en route to Italy for slaughter. It does show upsetting images but please if you can watch it do, then spread the word and get supporting the Handle with Care campaign.