It is a well known fact that the Italians like their horsemeat, so much so that they are now the largest consumer of horsemeat in Europe. To meet demand, over 200,000 horses are slaughtered in Italy each year with a high percentage being imported from mainly Poland, Romania and France. Things could all be about to change though as politicians from all parties are considering banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Francesca Martini, a minster with the Italian health ministry and a member of the ruling Right-wing coalition, has put forward the bill, arguing that the “dignity of horses should be respected”. The motion is already on the desk of the Italian parliament’s culture commission and has won considerably cross party support with opposition centre-Left MPs also backing it.
Also Backing the ban is Italy’s agriculture minister Luca Zaia who says horses should not be eaten and instead “considered just like cats and dogs”. The proposal has been warmly welcomed by the Italian federation for equine sports and animal cruelty charities who said it was “legislation that had been long overdue”.
The proposals have caused uproar in communities where horsemeat is popular who claim that eating horsemeat is part of their culture and right. There are also concerns that should the ban occur while there is still a high demand for horsemeat, that the trade will be driven underground resulting in a black market, as has happened in the Miami area of the US recently.
Let us hear your views on this topical subject…